January 6, 2010 / 10:45 PM / in 8 years

Fur flies over picture of Michelle Obama in ad

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Animal rights group PETA has used the image of Michelle Obama without her consent on a new poster that praises the U.S. first lady for not wearing fur, the White House said on Wednesday.

<p>A new anti-fur poster, released by PETA, shows (L-R) country singer Carrie Underwood, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and talk show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks. REUTERS/PETA/Handout</p>

The poster, which PETA says was put up at just two metro rail stations in the U.S. capital, features Michelle Obama, talk-show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks and country singer Carrie Underwood under the headline “Fur-free and Fabulous.”

“We did not consent to it,” said Semonti Stephens, a spokeswoman for the first lady.

Stephens confirmed that Michelle Obama did not wear fur, but was unaware whether she had seen the poster.

<p>A new anti-fur campaign on the side of a van, in a photo released by PETA, shows (L-R) country singer Carrie Underwood, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and talk show hosts Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks. REUTERS/PETA/Handout</p>

A White House official said the White House had contacted PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, about the poster.

But PETA, known for its attention-grabbing campaigns, did not appear to be backing down.

Its president, Ingrid Newkirk, said in a statement her U.S.-based organization had not asked the White House to fund or promote the campaign, “as they can’t do such things.”

But she said that Michelle Obama has issued a statement indicating that she doesn’t wear fur, “and the world should know that in PETA’s eyes, that makes her pretty fabulous,” she said.

A PETA poster promoting vegetarianism was banned in Britain last year for wrongly implying that eating meat caused swine flu.

Reporting by Ross Colvin; editing by Steve Gutterman

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