After the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan is on the “brink of collapse” owing to the rapid spread of Covid-19, the looming harsh winter and “a regime that cannot pay basic salaries”, according to the UN representative for Afghanistan. As poverty levels are set to reach 97 per cent by next year, animal rights charity Peta has helped to organise the delivery of 86 fur coats to Afghanistan donated by people who felt guilt over owning them.
Channels of humanitarian aid and services have suffered after the fall of Kabul, victims to the strained relations between the Taliban and the West. Peta’s shipment of fur coats found their way to Afghanistan thanks to the persistence of a local activist, who helped get the shipment cleared and subsequently distributed by the US-based Life for Relief and Development organisation.
“This aid was very useful for people in winter,” says the activist, who cannot named to ensure their safety. “People are in dire need even if it was something simple like socks.”
Peta, whose motto includes the phrase “animals are not ours to wear”, has set up a system which allows people to donate their unwanted fur so it be reused in a productive manner.
“We can’t bring back the animals who suffered for these coats, but we can use old furs to help desperate people living under Taliban rule,” says Peta UK director Elisa Allen. “Peta encourages everyone in the UK to use unwanted fur to help the truly needy, not clothe people for vanity.”
One donor says their fur coat had been hanging in their wardrobe for years.
“Like many others, I stopped wearing it once I saw the videos of animals imprisoned in cramped, dirty cages on fur farms, who are killed in the cruellest ways imaginable. But I’m glad that, rather than ending up in a landfill, the coat can be put to some good use and will help keep vulnerable people warm this winter.”
As well as donating fur coats to Afghanistan, Peta is facilitating the donation of 256 garments to Pakistan, where temperatures can plummet to about zero degrees at night.