After Uproar, Israeli College Scraps Fur Design Course

Cancelation follows Haaretz report mounting public pressure against the school.

The Shenkar College of Engineering and Design is canceling its course on fur and leather processing that began last semester, the fashion college announced on Wednesday.

The cancelation follows a report in Haaretz on Sunday on the course and subsequent mounting public pressure against the school. “Following a letter from faculty members, the students union and Shenkar graduates, the academic committee of the Fashion Design Department considered the matter and decided not to hold the course next year,” Shenkar officially announced.

This public pressure against Shenkar began to escalate at the start of the week, with an Internet petition that collected more than 3,500 signatures in its first two days.

Three prominent animal-rights organizations in Israel, The Fur Underground, Let the Animals Live and Anonymous, had planned a protest outside the school next week. After Shenkar announced that the course will be scrapped, the organizations canceled the plan.

Leah Peretz, head of the fashion design department at Shenkar, told Haaretz earlier this week that interest in fur around the world has been rising again, and the school aimed to expose its students to as many raw materials as possible, to make them more versatile.

A Facebook page calling for the protest (since canceled) contains a post noting that on the very day Italian designer Giorgio Armani announced he would completely forgo use of furs in clothing, along came Shenkar with plans to teach use of fur and leather that were “violently torn off the bodies of animals, in order to make dead fashion products. Have our hearts become that hard? How could Shenkar, which just a decade ago hosted an important conference against fur on its grounds, lend a hand to such an industry?”

The animal rights organizations applauded Shenkar’s decision to abolish the course. “Animals are not raw materials,” commented Jane Halevy Moreno, founder of the International Anti-Fur Coalition.

“Fur is dead fashion and it is time to bury it and the violent culture it represents. It is time to advance toward a world that promotes values of compassion, not cruelty.”