Peta rebuked for putting Michelle Obama on anti-fur poster
Fur-free and fabulous - and unauthorised: White House says animal rights group is using first lady's image without permission, Telegraph reported
The publicity-savvy US animals rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has received a rebuke from the White House after using Michelle Obama's image in an anti-fur advertisement without her permission.
The first lady is pictured, along with the TV presenter Oprah Winfrey, the model Tyra Banks and the country and western singer Carrie Underwood, on a Peta poster at Washington DC underground stations, under the slogan "Fur-free and fabulous!"
The other three have officially endorsed Peta's anti-fur campaigns. As the wife of the president, however, Michelle Obama is unable to do the same.
Even though the first lady's deputy press secretary, Semonti Mustaphi, told a US newspaper in June last year that "Mrs Obama does not wear fur", her office has contacted Peta to warn that the group is using her image without consent.
Peta says it has no plans to remove the posters. "We haven't asked the White House to fund or promote the campaign, as they can't do such things, but the fact is that Michelle Obama has issued a statement indicating that she doesn't wear fur, and the world should know that in Peta's eyes, that makes her pretty fabulous," the organisation's president, Ingrid Newkirk, said.
Peta is the best-known US animals rights campaign group, in large part because of its tactics of bringing in celebrities to support its campaigns, particularly against the use of fur, and also criticising those it feels have transgressed.
When Barack Obama was filmed last year swatting a fly during a TV interview, the group issued a statement that, while lighthearted, urged "compassion even for the most curious, smallest and least sympathetic animals".
When a US campaigning group released a poster last year showing a child next to the slogan, "President Obama's daughters get healthy school lunches. Why don't I?" the White House asked for it to be taken down, even though no images of the girls had been used.