A luxury store on Tel Aviv's upscale Kikar Hamedina was raided by police and nature inspectors on Wednesday, after the storekeeper said on a television show that she sold coats made from baboon fur there. The raid followed a complaint lodged by the Let the Animals Live organization, charging that Nicole Raidman was dealing illegally in wild animals.
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Raidman, who opened the store last week, was interviewed on a reality show. When asked what the most expensive item was that she had there, she pointed to a "baboon coat" which she said was going for the price of NIS 62,000. Questioned about the controversy surrounding fur, Raidman said in her childhood she had been afraid of it but had accepted her mother's explanation that the fur was removed after the animal had died.
As a result, Let the Animals Live, in cooperation with the International Anti-Fur Coalition, sent a letter of complaint to the Nature and Parks Authority's supervision division saying that the fur was being sold without a permit and that Raidman should be brought to trial. Later in the week, Raidman said that the coat was known as a "baboon coat" but that it was not clear that it was actually made from baboon fur. She announced also that she would no longer sell articles with fur in her store. Nevertheless, inspectors were sent to examine the store's contents.
In a press release, Let the Animals Live said that it had lodged the complaint "on the suspicion that fur was being sold without permission and thus that trade in furs was being encouraged, animals were being cruelly mistreated and biological species were being endangered." The statement added: "We hope that now she will not allow any of her clients to hide behind excuses... and will not merely stop selling furs but will be an ambassador of the opposition to this bloody sale."
Raidman said in response that the entire range of items in her store was "kosher and approved according to the laws of the country." She added that she apologized if anyone was hurt: "I will no longer sell furs," she said.
According to Raidman, "the visit by the inspectors ended in a friendly manner, with a hug and a kiss."