Former Fur Commission USA Director Teresa Platt: Where is She Now?
Update on Teresa Platt since leaving the Fur Commission.
Part fourteen in a thirty-article series this month on the ALF’s fur farm campaign.
If ever there was a real-life Cruella De Vil, it was Teresa Platt.
After previous director Marsha Kelly left the Fur Commission in 1996 (she quit after her home address was published in The Final Nail), Teresa Platt stepped in (it was probably not by chance that Platt lived in a gated community).
For the next 15 years, Platt was the face of US fur farming. As an industry that generally only needs a “face” after an Animal Liberation Front action, by default she had a nearly full-time job speaking out against the ALF.
However Platt’s zeal on the subject of the animal rights movement was especially high, and seemed to come from a personal and political vendetta. Indeed, she was not merely a paid public relations person reading from a script. A look at Platt’s past shows that she comes from a heritage of blood – her father was a tuna fisherman, who found himself a target of the dolphin protection movement of the 1980s.
Her tenure at the Fur Commission USA
After an ALF action (her tenure covered the time in which the vast majority of ALF actions took place), Platt instructed all fur farmers to not speak to the media, and refer all inquiries directly to her. She then recited her deceptive talking points that wouldn’t hold up to the lightest journalistic scrutiny. Among them:
- Released mink die of “exposure” (mink sheds are not climate controlled or even fully enclosed, and freed mink are in the exact same climate as caged mink).
- Most mink are hit by cars (it’s a strange kind of animal that runs to the nearest road and lies down).
- Mink can’t survive in the wild (never mentioning the survival rate of a mink on a fur farm is 0%).
Platt’s talking points are outlined in this security manual for fur farmers (also believe to be put together by Platt) [CORRECTION: This document post-dates Platt's departure, and was in fact authored by the current FCUSA director], which includes instruction to fur farmers to feign a concern for animals, and pretend to the media that their primary after a fur farm raid is for the safety of their animals
Platt was believed to be the architect behind all of the Fur Commission’s ALF counter-programs, including the Neighborhood Watch program (a program “that is responsible for securing the US mink farming industry”), the annual Incident Report (compiling all reports of suspicious activity at fur farms),the Netwatch email list (a listserve which distributes “articles, security alerts and key information on conflict campaigns and eco-terrorism incidents”), the FCUSA dossier database ( with “reports… generated on individuals, organizations and incidents”), the “Safe Farms Campaign” (pushing for tougher laws against “eco-terrorists”), and more.
Although the claim is suspect, she also takes credit for being a key player in the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
Her departure from the Fur Commission
In the summer of 2011, Teresa quietly left the Fur Commission. The official story is that the board wanted to shift it’s focus from public relations (Platt’s specialty) to “farm security” (protecting the few remaining fur farms from the Animal Liberation Front).
I read this as a tacit admission of two things:
1) They have conceded defeat in their attempt to sell the public on fur as an ethical clothing choice.
2) The Animal Liberation Front is the biggest threat to the industry at the present time.
To work on this new focus, Michael Whelan assumed her position in 2011.
Where is she now?
In November of 2012, Platt resurfaced as the director of The National Center for Public Policy Research’s Environment and Enterprise Institute in Washington DC, a “conservative, free-market, non-profit think-tank.”
The group is exactly what it sounds like: a think-tank to promote the profit-agenda of corporations whose interests conflict with that of animals and the environment.
She also recently published a book, Tuna to Mink. Tagline: “If you care about animals and the environment, you’ll love Tuna to Mink.”
This is the fourteenth of 30 articles I will be posting in December on the ALF’s fur farm campaign. Sign up for the email list to get every update sent to your inbox, or check back daily.