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Hythe Town Council scraps fur mayoral robe

By Sean Axtell

A council will back down over plans to buy a mayoral robe made with real fur, amid pressure from animal rights campaigners.

Hythe Town Council (HTC) found itself under the spotlight last month, as councillors decided whether to buy a muskrat lined robe for £1,400 or a cheaper fake one.

It came following mounting pressure from animal rights group Peta and Respect for Animals, who condemned the use of real fur.

Mayor of Hythe Paul Peacock and Admiral Lord Boyce on the Cinque Ports float at the recent Venetian Fete
Mayor of Hythe Paul Peacock and Admiral Lord Boyce on the Cinque Ports float at the recent Venetian Fete

Both groups head-longed into the debate when Town Mayor and Mayoress Paul and Wendy Peacock told the Express the current robe was ‘disintegrating, old and smelly.’

Speaking at HTC’s Finance and General Purpose Committee meeting, David Owen, town councillor and chairman of Shepway District Council, said: “I have no idea how musquash is produced.

“If it is made by farming then I don’t mind it being used.”

John Gabris, town councillor for Hythe West, added: “I don’t understand people who say wearing fur is disrespectful to animals.

“The animal is dead. You can respect (the animal) by putting it on your clothes.

“But I think we should use fake fur.”

Respect for Animals last week penned an open letter to the authority appealing against the use of muskrat.

It details how trappers drown the North American rodent in traps, taking up to five minutes to die.

Stock pic of a muskrat
Stock pic of a muskrat

Mayoress Wendy Peacock, who also served as mayor in 2004, said: “Why do we need fur at all?

“If people wear fake fur it still endorses animal skin.

“Let’s get rid of it.

“Other Cinque Ports don’t use real fur, we wouldn’t be the odd ones out.

Husband and Mayor Paul Peacock added: “All of this blew up on social media.

“This was not something that was particularly for me.

“It will last for a long time and go to our other mayors – it is history.”

A decision will be made on which robe the council will buy at a later date.

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