New People’s Party Chairperson Regina Ip has come under fire for wearing a red mink coat to a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday. She told reporters that “farm[ing] animals and eating beef was about the same.”

She showed the coat’s label to reporters, saying that it cost over RMB$10,000 ten years ago, Ming Pao reported. According to Ip, the coat was produced in the US, designed in Italy and made in Guangzhou. Pictures circulated online, attracting criticism.

Regina Ip in a mink coat.

When asked for a response, Ip told Stand News, “There’s actually a lot of people who also believe eating beef is not environmentally friendly, because a lot of greenhouse gases are produced. And there are American documentaries that talk about how inhumane the poultry industry is… In North America, in mink farms they rear a few million animals, which is actually already environmentally friendly.”

‘Fur is green’

Ip said that her critics did not know that technology had improved in the fur industry and that it does not involve animal abuse. “There’s also a website called ‘Fur is Green’, times are changing. Mink farming can be more humane than rearing chicken or cattle. The trend has changed, they just haven’t caught up,” Ip said.

Ip also said that deforestation for cattle farms is common in South America. Thus, eating beef, like wearing mink coats, is also not environmentally friendly. Ip added that she saw no problem with the mink trade, and that banning it would lead to unemployment.

Mark Mak, Director of NPV. File Photo: Provided by Mark Mak.

“Eating beef is nothing to be proud of, and it should also not be encouraged,” animal rights campaigner Mark Mak said on Facebook. “But wearing mink coats is a thousand times crueller than eating beef. It’s astounding how shameless and ignorant she is, being a lawmaker. Today she tried to rationalise an unethical behaviour, it not only harmed animals, but is also a blow to our civil quality.”

This was not the first time that Ip has been criticised for wearing fur. In 2007, when she was Secretary for Security, she said that animal rights activists “have no right to interfere with my human right.”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.