Will Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Fur Coat Go to PETA?

For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2022

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Washington – Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s mink fur coat is on auction to benefit her beloved Washington National Opera, but PETA thinks it can serve a dual purpose if it’s used to honor the late justice’s progressive vision. Today, the group sent a letter to her estate, asking if it could receive the coat to give to a homeless person who desperately needs warmth or use as part of an educational exhibit—perhaps taking it to schools to show children how many animals go into such garments and pointing out how times have changed, as most designers and retailers are turning their backs on fur.

“We would like to carry on RBG’s legacy of change-making through her coat because it tells the story of the evolution of fur from once being a symbol of a woman’s success to now being a symbol of animal suffering, as society’s view has evolved,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who, now in her 70s, used to own a fur coat. “We can’t bring back the animals killed for fur, but we can use this coat to advocate for equality and justice for all, principles that RBG cared deeply about.”

If the Ginsburg estate accepts PETA’s offer, the justice will posthumously join the long list of public figures who have donated unwanted fur coats to PETA (whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”), including Anjelica Huston, Mariah Carey, Kim Cattrall, Mary Tyler Moore, and Sharon Osbourne. PETA would also donate $500 to the opera in RBG’s memory.

In its letter, PETA notes that minks and other animals on fur farms are packed into unbearably small cages, in which they pace frantically and mutilate themselves—biting their own feet and tails—to try to cope with the intense stress of confinement. Many are electrocuted, poisoned, gassed, and even skinned while they’re still alive.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to the Ginsburg estate follows.

April 15, 2022

Dear Mr. and Ms. Ginsburg,

Greetings from PETA U.S.—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters, and PETA U.S. is the world’s largest animal rights organization. We’ll always remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a champion of justice, and we’re asking that you consider doing something special and perhaps a little unusual: Will you please donate her mink coat—something that was once a symbol of success for a woman but now is a sign of an earlier time when most of us were unaware of the awful suffering involved for the animals killed for fur production—to PETA? We would use it respectfully to promote kindness to all and to illustrate how times have changed, taking it to schools and otherwise using it for that purpose. I am in my 70s and used to have fur myself, so I do understand the sensitivities.

We would be happy to donate $500 to the Washington National Opera in Justice Ginsburg’s memory.

Although fur coats were common in previous generations, people now know that wearing fur is notoriously cruel. Minks on fur farms are packed into small cages, in which they pace frantically and mutilate themselves—biting their own feet and tails—to try to cope with the intense stress of confinement and in their desperation to escape. They are electrocuted, poisoned, gassed, and even skinned alive.

As you know, Justice Ginsburg once said, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” We see this with fur, as designers, brands, and stores are dropping fur as quickly as consumers are shunning it. As faux fur and other vegan materials take over, real animal fur—like Justice Ginsburg’s coat—can be of important use. This generous donation would continue her legacy of justice for all.

Please let us know what you think about this proposal. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind