by Carole Raphaelle Davis
February 28, 2013
Is Ke$ha’s love for animals real or faux? That is the question being asked by members of the animal rights community. On March 23, The Humane Society of the United States will honor pop star Ke$ha at their annual benefit gala, the Genesis Awards. She will be receiving the prestigious Wyler award for her activism. Some animal rights advocates are calling fowl, claiming Ke$ha doesn’t deserve an award. Ke$ha’s signature style is that of a drunk, hillbilly huntress—knife in mouth, feather earrings and accessories, feather headdresses, feather jackets, leather, snake skin, bones, teeth and skulls as accessories and lots real-looking fur.
The Companion Animal Protection Society wrote an angry email to senior management of the HSUS, calling their decision to honor her “completely out of touch with the values of the animal rights movement.” Beverly Kaskey, Senior Director at The Humane Society of the United States claims to have vetted the star, stating, “We have confirmed that Ke$ha does not wear fur, and is currently developing her own faux fur line. Her feather accessories are created by Fauxtale, which uses only naturally-molted plumage without harming the birds.”
“I just love animals,” Ke$ha told the Phoenix Times, “and I’m an advocate for animals’ rights, and my family has rescued dogs from all over the world. I don’t believe in animal testing. If you see me in fur, it’s always fake.”
We’ll have to take her word for it.
There is no available information about her dogs or the rescue organizations her family has rescued dogs from other than that quote on-line. Ke$ha’s cat was handed to her through her car window at a strip club. She later tweeted that she considered that a rescue. It’s not. Rescue is when you go to a shelter and save an animal’s life.
About all the fur she wears: there is an easy way to determine whether fur is real—you light a match to it. Synthetic “fur” melts and releases a toxic fume that can be detected easily. Real fur burns the same way human hair does and has a distinctive organic smell. It’s easy to have a closet full of furs and say they’re all fake…if you’re a fake.
To some animal rights purists, whether the furs are real or faux is not the point; she is still promoting the wearing of dead animals. “I don’t know if there is any advantage to marketing the look of an animal’s skin by saying it’s fake,” said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization. “The truth is, she’s marketing the look, so has she really spared an animal?”
“Regardless of what she says her costumes are made of, whether they’re the real feathers of a goose, ostrich, swan or other bird, they likely didn’t shed them naturally. Some celebrities act as if these furs fall off the animal with great ease in fact their necks are broken in order steal them. The image is one of theft. She promotes that look, that crime.” ~ Priscilla Feral
“Ke$ha has more dead birds in her wardrobe than a chicken slaughterhouse,” said Carole Sax, an L.A. animal rights activist unhappy with HSUS’ choice. “Why don’t they give the award to Anne Hathaway who is vegan or James Cromwell who got arrested for protecting animals?”
Kestrel Jenkins is another animal rights advocate who doesn’t buy Ke$ha’s claim that her feathers came off the birds naturally.
“Fly-fishing shops across America are fending off an unlikely horde: a swarm of women and hairstylists who head straight for long, skinny rooster feathers (known as “hackles”) that fishermen use as lures. Desperate to emulate clip-in feather extensions made popular by Ke$ha, these ‘feather ladies’ are creating mass hackle shortages nation-wide. At Whiting Farms in Colorado, one of the world’s largest producers of fly-tying feathers, it takes a year for their roosters to grow out their plumes. Then, the bird is euthanized. Although the farm is harvesting about 1,500 roosters per week for their quills, it’s still far from meeting demand. With poultry dying not for food but for sport and vanity, it’s about time somebody squawked about this fowl play.”
Ke$ha rented an elephant.
Animal rights advocates are angered that she used a rented elephant for one of her music videos. Elephants roam hundreds of miles in their natural habitats and form life-long bonds with their families and friends. There are a number of elephants being exploited by animal rental companies for entertainment in Los Angeles and Hollywood Animals, which rents out exotic wild animals for parties, has been exploiting an elephant that looks exactly like the one used in the Ke$ha video.
Elephants are as easily distinguishable as humans are and can be identified by unique facial traits. Hollywood Animals refused to answer whether or not their elephant was the one in Ke$ha’s video. On their website, it looks as though the elephant might be dead because there is a message that reads:
“We love you, we will miss you and will never forget you.”
Hollywood Animals did not answer questions about what happened to the elephant.
Ke$ha admits to wearing dead animals’ heads.
She has been photographed with a walking stick that is made of the head of a dead reptile tethered by bird feathers. “Sometimes you see me wearing skulls, but those are all from road kill,” Ke$ha told the Phoenix Times. How does Ke$ha know the animals she wears are “road kill?” Did she witness the accident and scrape the body up off the road herself? Did she then pull the flesh off to make them wearable?
“I have more respect for animals that are accident victims than that,” said Priscilla Feral of Friends of Animals. “I think what she’s saying is preposterous and doesn’t reflect the ethic of animal rights. She presents carcasses as trophies. An animal hit in road shouldn’t be fashioned into this person’s get-up, it deserves a burial. Imagine someone hitting your dog in the road and using his skull for your cause célèbre. It’s a horrendous display of indifference. She’s a faux animal rights person. The skins and remains of animals appear real. Every last vision is a crime scene. A crime against animals, birds and for mangling the message of animal rights. That the HSUS would give her an award sounds like crazy desperation.”
“I want to buy a tiger.”
There is an interview where Ke$ha demonstrates just how anti-animal protection she can be when she doesn’t think the animal rights community is watching. In a candid and thoughtless moment of spoiled capriciousness, Ke$ha says, “I want to buy a tiger.”
Tigers are considered to be a critically endangered species. Ke$ha’s promotion of tigers as pets fuels the illegal traffic of tigers and is not only dangerous to humans, but inhumane for these magnificent wild creatures.
To be fair, Ke$ha has tweeted for animal protection and has promoted animal rights on her website. But her “activism,” with the exception of one highly publicized donation of food to an animal shelter, is limited to a spotty and lazy disjointed digital output of tweets and video posts that seem to have been written by HSUS’ press department. Her over-all public theme is drunkenness, irresponsibility and risky behavior. Her digital footprint and public persona can hardly be categorized as animal friendly. It is mostly egotistical and conveys a confusing mixed bag of self-promotion, merchandize and marketing.
Much of her messaging is distinctly anti-animal, like the video she posted of a sad dancing bear in a Taiwanese zoo and the video of a man riding a bull hunting a bear with a shotgun—all posted as if these were cute and fun bits of entertainment content for her Web site. There is also the matter of the only poster for sale on her website where she poses wearing feathers and the tusk of a dead animal.
A faux fur line by Ke$ha so you can look like you’re wearing a dead animal
Ke$ha is launching her own faux fur line in order to cement her image as the “first ever Global Ambassador for Humane Society International. But The buzz in the animal rights community is that her faux fur line is just an attempt to capitalize on her “global ambassador” status, not a sincere commitment to animal rights. “Global ambassadors” for animal protection don’t sell faux dead animals after they’ve been caught wearing real dead animals and wearing “road kill” isn’t that much more humane than wearing fur farm kill.
Maybe Ke$ha thinks the animal rights community is easy. It’s not. The AR community can smell a publicity stunt. It is made up of sophisticated, skeptical, non-conformist critical thinkers who are less likely to buy her hype than her fans are and she is not fooling us. Animal rights is not a two-week course you can take and then get a diploma. It’s a life-long commitment to a code of ethics.
Even the HSUS doesn’t seem able to promote her without being snarky or revealing the motive behind their business arrangement with Ke$ha. “Our recognition of Ke$ha is for her activism not for her public persona or her music, said HSUS’ Beverly Kaskey. “Ke$ha is edgy but I can tell you that she’s done a remarkable job at spreading the word and reaching a demographic we don’t usually have access to.”
So the HSUS admits they can’t really get behind her public persona or her music (because it has zero to do with animal protection) but they can reward her activism. By this absurd new standard, animal rights activism has now been redefined by the HSUS to accomodate famous phonies. AR activism is now reduced to a few tweets. And HSUS will provide the copy, email it to the celeb’s “team” and the assistant will tweet a “shout out” for the #animals.
Kevin Rooney, Emmy Award winning political comedy writer, put it best. “Ke$ha is winning a Genesis award for bringing attention to the plight of animals by wearing fur, skulls and feathers while riding a rented elephant in the desert.”