Ms. Patti Labelle c/o
Universal Music Group
2220 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica , CA 90404
Dear Ms. Labelle,
I'm not a rabid fan but have always been impressed by your voice and your ability. I bought "Lady Marmalade" on 45* as a teenager, and just last month I bought your new Miss Patti's Christmas CD. May I ask for one minute of your time after my 35 years of support?
I saw the photo in the newspaper of you with your friend Mary J. Blige at a record release party in New York last month, both draped head to toe in fur.
You think you know what I'm going to say next but I am not an activist, am not deeply involved in this issue, and don't even agree with much of how PETA conducts their business.
I know how slowly people's habits change but have been encouraged to see progress in recent years as the public has started to turn against eating veal and foie gras, recognizing that there is a difference between humanely raising and killing animals for food and unnecessarily torturing them for the entirety of their short lives.
Just as there are moral trade offs in what we choose to eat, the same is true in what we choose to wear.
You probably don't have time to privately investigate how chinchillas are killed for their fur but you should at least be aware that they are commonly electrocuted, while they are conscious. Some are victims of what the fur industry calls "cervical dislocation," which is having their necks snapped, again, while conscious. These methods are documented as being used at chinchilla farms here in the United States but the animals in fur producing countries around the world suffer living conditions that are often inhumane as well.
The coat you wore that night to a party looks to me to represent the painful death of hundreds of little creatures.
If I could close with some good news for fashion icons such as yourself, it is that science has made impressive gains in the area of realistic synthetic furs. It is now quite difficult to tell the difference between faux and real fur and I think if you are a caring person you will look better in the man-made "fur" because you will feel better about the choice you made.
That's all I wanted to say. Thank you for reading this and I wish you and your family a happy and prosperous new year.
*(Not in the letter, but for my readers: a 45 represents what used to be the physical version of an mp3 download. "Records" were pressed onto vinyl, a sort of plastic. There would be one song on each side and the disc would spin on a "turntable" at 45 revolutions per minute. A needle would travel the grooves of the record and transmit the sound through a speaker.)