Astrakhan “Fetal Skins”

by Nathan Hamm on 3/7/2005 · 4 comments

The Australian reports on a rise in the use of astrakhan wool. If I were an anti-abortion activist, I would probably have a field day with the irony of the outrage noted in this paragraph:

Animal welfare campaigners are planning attacks on fashion houses that have forsaken mink and fox for the latest luxury trim: the fleece of newborn and aborted lambs.

Astrakhan was in limited use three years ago, but fell out of vogue after British designer Stella McCartney rounded on her friend Madonna for having an astrakhan coat, telling her she was “wearing a fetus”. She has never been seen in public in it since.

I’ve never been too bent out of shape by the fur trade. Considering that almost every Uzbek sheep will meet its end through violence and have the fat of its ass eaten as a delicacy, hearing that ewes are killed to harvest unborn lambs for a lucrative fur trade in a poor country causes me no psychic distress. Barring evidence to the contrary, I’m willing to bet that the rest of the sheep is not just thrown away either. But, to the PETA crowd, ’tis no matter. They’ve never seemed to really be partial to human interests.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Tatyana March 7, 2005 at 5:22 pm

Damn, late again!
Was saving for the gray astrakhan for the last 3 yrs. It’s like with a house: as soon as you have enough for a down payment, the prices jump up and you’re left with your mouth dry!

C’mon, Nathan, let PETA foam away – if Stella could shame down Madonna, may be they will make my dream coat finally affordable?

Nathan March 7, 2005 at 6:36 pm

Oh, they will undoubtedly meet with success. I have little pull with that crowd. I actually wish them luck. Those astrakhan hats are pretty sharp.

Sara March 8, 2005 at 12:40 am

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy of getting down on Uzbek sheep farmers for aborting lambs when no one will stand up for school children forced to hand-pick cotton in the fields instead of going to school?

Nathan March 8, 2005 at 12:52 am

Let’s add that to the pile of things immensely screwed up about this misplaced outrage.

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