by Ali Berman
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .
Photo: GAIA

Jean-Claude Van Damme teamed up with the Belgian animal protection organization GAIA to speak out against fur.

In the parking lot of Kinepolis Brussels you can see Van Damme on a billboard that could be for one of his films. The muscle clad actor isn’t holding a weapon though. He’s holding a skinned mink. The tagline says, “Coming this winter to all fur stores.”

This is Van Damme’s first anti-fur campaign. He is now the anti-fur ambassador for the organization. He said about the fur trade, “I fail to see what is attractive about walking around in an animal skin, I suspect the animals would agree with me.”

In Belgium, only mink are raised for fur. In Flanders, Belgium there are approximately 20 mink farms where 150,000 mink are killed annually. They are kept in tiny cages, driven mad from the boredom and bad conditions, and then after seven or eight months, they are gassed and skinned.

GAIA is hoping this campaign will get people to write to members of Parliament to ask them to have Belgium ban the practice of breeding animals for fur. Both England and Austria already have such a law in place. According to GAIA, 9 out of 10 Belgians also agree with the anti-fur message and favor the ban.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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  • Karina

    These kinds of signs should be put up in all cities around the world where animals are worn.

    • Jean

      FINALLY! this is long awaited for ….The fur trade is barbaric! Thank you Jean Claude!!!

  • Bob

    “I fail to see what is attractive about walking around in an animal skin, I suspect the animals would agree with me.”

    An animal probably wouldn’t agree with you eating him either but animals eat each other all the time. So you don’t make a very good case Van Damme. It’s not surprising he built his fame on his muscles. This kid wasn’t going to far on his brains.

    • BanTheFurTrade

      Bob, why are you even here?

      • herwin

        Bob is here to make us look good . :-P

    • Michiko

      Bob, since you are obviously intelligent enough to feel qualified to judge others’ intelligence, I’m sure you are a constant learner and would want to know that, in your last sentence, “to” should be the inclusive “too,” and not the preposition you used.

    • lisa

      animals might eat each other but it is nature and humans have reason and there are alot of other foods besides meat. It causes lots of health problems also

    • Terry Vourantonis

      I absolutely agree, bleeding heart huge heart NO STUDY SMALL MIND. Never visited TRUTH ABOUT FUR.COM

  • BanTheFurTrade

    As a contrast to this, how about a story on Drew Barrymore the supposed “animal lover” and former vegetarian who is now–believe it or not–appearing in fur ads! Drew, what the hell happened?!?!?

    • Terry Vourantonis

      She got informed! She went to the TRUTH ABOUT FUR.COM

  • Icare

    This is so awesome!!! Way to go Jean!!!!

  • Icare

    @banthefurtrade appreciate your comment about Drew Barrymore I just dont get it either. She also does commercials for Cover Girl which is owned by P&G who tests on animals — not to mention other celebs who do the same and promote animal testing this way. Thx for caring!

  • don miguelo

    Drew better watch out for his surprise split-kick!!

  • herwin

    Otger countries that are furm farm unfriendly are the Netherlands. Foxes and chinchilla are already banned from farming for fur, and now plans are on the way to phase out mink farming. (the Netherlands were/are one of the biggest mink and fur producers, with annually around 5 million pelts.)
    Plans for phasing out all fur farms starting 2018 already passed parliament.

    PETA take nore, poster campaigns like these with Vandamme are great, and shocking in a POSITIVE way.

    • Clare

      Herwin – Google “Peta Shareholder activism” – they ARE taking positive steps…. it’s just these are the steps that due to the un-shock tactics do not get the press!

    • Anita

      This is a great ad, I applaud Van Damme for his involvement with GAIA in the fight to ban fur farms. The ongoing issue is that fashion designers are now getting their fur from Chinese fur farms (China is now the biggest fur producing country in the world) where animals are clubbed, smacked to the ground, skinned alive. There is a video by PETA of this footage, it is horrible and vile, so inconceivably cruel. It is up to the consumer to stop buying fur, and the fashion designers to stop using it. We have to keep fighting.

      • Terry Vourantonis

        RIGHT! Keep promoting synthetics and the earth will come to an end sooner. Most anti fur kind hearted people wear leather shoes, belts, and leather jackets etc. Please note that leather was fur before the fur was removed, I prefer to see people wearing that than people wearing man made polluting products. Amazing how these same anti fur people choose synthetics and call themselves GREENS, is that being a hypocrit or not? The funny thing is that while Van Damme helps destroy furs’ image, 99.5% of animals used today get no attention from you guys. 100 % of the animals used deserve to be treated with respect and welfare. I am calling out all anti fur people as polluters and unthinking or hypocritic bleeding hearts. Animal use will always be, so better to help all animals. but maybe then, anti fur agencies would not be as rich and live a lifestyle of common man. A Canadian thinker I remain.

    • Terry Vourantonis

      Fur is green visit the TRUTH ABOUT FUR.COM.

  • Rat King

    Great action – great man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Marilyn

    This is terrible..but at least the animals are gassed before-hand. Check out the China Fur Trade Industry. They skin dogs alive and then throw them into a pile. Some of the dogs live through it! It’s freaking evil!

    • lisa

      how do you know they are gassed? Does that make it right?

  • Alberto Kimple

    Well you want to know what I think of Jean Claude Van Damme … I have been a admirer since I was young. He is a great actor. He can take on many rolls. I am glad to see he can make a good row model, for anyone no matter what he has over come in life.