The winner of Miss Florida USA will no longer don a chic animal-carcass coat, according to a local animal-rights group.
Don Anthony of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida tells New Times that fur will no longer be included in the Miss Florida USA pageant, a change the group has been lobbying for over the past few years.
This year's winner will not receive a full-length mink coat, which has been a tradition of the Miss Florida USA pageant for more than a decade, and no other fur products will be part of the show, Anthony says.
It's not exactly clear why the pageant dropped the fur tradition, but Anthony says it's likely a combination of their protests and the fact that a nonprofit trade organization called the Fur Information Council of America is no longer a sponsor of Miss Florida USA.
Anthony and ARFF have been advocating for a few years now that people protest the fur aspect at the pageant as well as write letters to Miss Florida USA's executive producer, Grant Gravitt Jr.
Former Price Is Right host and national Miss USA pageant host Bob Barker also tried to get the Florida pageant to end its association with the fur industry in 2009.
Now, Anthony says Gravitt recently emailed ARFF confirming that this year's show would be fur-free.
Calls to Gravitt's office this morning were not returned.
"The cruelty of fur has no place in a beauty pageant," Anthony says in his announcement. "We are very happy that Miss Florida USA will no longer be associated with this brutal trade. We wish the pageant, and all of this year's beautiful contestants, success!"
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The 2012 Miss Florida USA Pageant will take place on July 15 and 16 in Davie.