A The Apprentice contestant has called for the fur of dead koalas from the ongoing bushfire crisis to be sold for charity.
Ryan-Mark Parsons made the shock suggestion on Good Morning Britain on Thursday, saying injured wildlife would benefit from the money raised.
Host Susanna Reid labelled his idea for these “poor creatures suffering and dying” as “sick”, but Parsons defended his stance.
“I don’t think it’s a sick idea because you have to take into account that the purpose of this is to raise money for the injured animals in the rescue centres,” he said.
He said he wasn’t encouraging the slaughter of koalas and that he “loves” koalas.
“What has happened in Australia is utterly devastating,” he said.
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“But the animals are dead, and if we can use the fur to raise money to save the other animals, I don’t see why that’s an issue.”
He said the sale of the fur would provide valuable funds and could be retailed in high-end stores such as Harrods.
The suggestion caused uproar on social media, with users calling it “grotesque” and lambasting Parsons for raising it on national television.
“People can always donate money to the fire cause, you don't need the purchasing the fur of an animal that suffered in the Oz bushfire as a reason to donate,” one person said.
“What a disgusting thing to even think about doing. It’s not helping other animals at all even if they are already unfortunately dead.
“It’s just going to make people think it’s okay to wear real fur. It’s not okay,” another said.
Others said such a move would create a demand for the fur and promote hunting of the marsupial whose numbers have seriously depleted during the fires.
At the turn of the year, estimates suggested over 8000 koalas had died during the fires.