19 JANUARY 2002, Page 27

Cruella Petronella

From Sir Anthony Montague Browne Sir: I hope Petronella Wyatt is ignorant of the crueller aspects of the fur trade (Singular life, 12 January), for to be the author of the article in full knowledge of the truly horrible aspects of the trade would show one to be both heartless and totally superficial.

The fur trade is never humane. Leopards captured in nets are put to death by the forcing of red-hot pokers up their anuses in order not to damage the pelt. On the other side of the world, inter alia, wild mink and silver foxes are gnawing off their own limbs in their efforts to escape their traps.

I know that leopard skins are not encouraged in this country, but you have only to visit a shop in, say. India or the Middle East (or Hungary) to find plenty of the skins of these rare and beautiful animals for sale. Even farmed mink were, in some instances, forced head down into milk bottles containing chloroform, which had terrible effects on their eyes before they died. And all this to encourage vulgar and witless people to buy furs in the name of fashion?

'Real people wear fake fur', despite what Miss Wyatt tells us about Hungary. The fact that she went without overt notice in our streets is only a matter of misplaced good manners.

Anthony Montague Browne

Bucklebury, Berkshire