Danny Cipriani is the star of a brand-new ad campaign for PETA in which he shows off his tattoos - and his chiselled physique - next to the words "Ink, Not Mink". The ad goes on to say, "Fur looks good only on its original owner. Be comfortable in your own skin, and let animals keep theirs". The new ad was shot by top celebrity photographer Trevor Leighton.
"The rugby pitch is known for being a tough environment, but it's nothing compared to what some animals go through when being hunted for their fur", Cipriani says. "I'm proud to be helping PETA raise awareness of how to help these animals - all you have to do is not wear them!"
In the wild, animals caught in cruel steel-jaw traps can languish for days, slowly dying from hunger, thirst, disease, blood loss and predation. Some, especially mothers with babies, chew through their limbs in a desperate attempt to escape. Animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy cages before they are beaten, gassed or anally electrocuted. Sometimes, they are even skinned while still alive. More than 2 million cats and dogs are skinned in China every year - many while still conscious. Designers such as Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Vivienne Westwood have all publicly sworn off fur. With so many stylish alternatives available, there's no excuse to harm a hair on an animal's head.
Cipriani - whose impressive 192 points last season helped the Sale Sharks reach the LV= Cup final - is in good company in speaking up for animals. While he is the first rugby player to star in a PETA ad, many top athletes - including strongman competitor Patrik Baboumian, England cricketer Jade Dernbach, squash champion James Willstrop, basketball star Metta World Peace, boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley, marathon runner Fauja Singh, UFC fighters Jake Shields and Mac Danzig and ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll - have previously teamed up with PETA or its affiliates to encourage kindness towards animals.