Fur flies over sale of badger skins at St Albans medieval market

Agnar of "The gripping beast" with a longbow on a stall at the medieval market, part of the 800th an

Agnar of "The gripping beast" with a longbow on a stall at the medieval market, part of the 800th anniversary Magna Carta celebrations - Credit: Archant

The sale of badger hides and fox tails at the 800th anniversary celebrations of Magna Carta in St Albans over the weekend has been condemned by a local councillor and animal rights campaign group.

A stall in the medieval market which is part of the 800th anniversary Magna Carta celebrations in St

A stall in the medieval market which is part of the 800th anniversary Magna Carta celebrations in St Albans - Credit: Archant

Unbeknown to St Albans district council, when it agreed to a medieval themed market as part of city-wide celebrations for the celebrations, a stall had hides and tails for sale.

The director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Mimi Bekhechi said: “The organisers of the market have taken the medieval theme a bit too literally.

“The use of fur, whether it comes from badgers, foxes, minks or dogs, belongs to a much less enlightened time when we weren’t aware of the complex, sensitive nature of animals and had no compunction about exploiting and harming them.”

Mimi added: “In 2015, there’s no excuse for confining other living beings to cages in order to peel the skin from their bodies for a bit of tat like fur trim or a fur cuff. If the market wants to attract today’s conscientious consumers, it should abandon the fur sales.”

And a disgusted London Colney councillor, Dreda Gordon, said: “I saw a stall there selling animal hides, including fox tails and badger hides. It was obvious it was real fur, as I could feel it.

“They were being sold at a Bavarian-style stall and there was hunting paraphernalia there.

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“I was shocked as I haven’t seen real fur items at a stall in St Albans for many years.”

Cllr Gordon added: “Maybe the council wasn’t aware of what the individual stalls were selling, but I’ve put through a complaint about it to the portfolio holder for localism, Cllr Beric Read.”

Her complaint has prompted the council to promise a review of its vetting procedures.

Richard Shwe, head of community services at the council, said: “We were approached by an external company offering to provide a specialist market with stalls and entertainment inspired by the medieval period to help celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.

“It transpired that one of the stalls was selling animal skins. We understand the concerns that have been raised and will be reviewing our policies on the vetting of stalls for future specialist markets.”

Visitors to the city centre took part in a wide range of activities with live music and performances taking place for the Magna Carta celebrations.

Re-enactments of real-life Victorian trials were held in the old Town Hall and bells rang out at St Albans Cathedral at 3pm to celebrate the iconic charter’s milestone anniversary.

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