Merrilees Parker likes fur. "I admit I like fur. The way it looks, how it feels and how it makes me feel." But can she kill it, skin it and still wear it?
In her day job as a chef, Merrilees knows exactly where her food comes from. Now she wants to find out if it's possible to source ethical fur like we source ethical food.
In the eighties the anti-fur lobby brought the industry to its knees. But now fur is back on the catwalks, in the magazines and on the high street. Today around 400 designers use fur compared with only 45 in 1985. The global fur industry is now worth around £7billion a year.
In Kill it, Skin it, Wear it Merrilees Parker attempts to find out the truth behind this remarkable fashion revival - getting unprecedented access to a Danish fur farm, going fur trapping in Idaho and seeing images of animal suffering that she never wants to see again.
Beginning her journey in Denmark, Merrilees is invited to film inside a mink farm. Accompanied throughout by two PR minders, Merrilees is initially impressed by the seemingly "humane, soundless and bloodless" way in which the mink are killed and processed. But is it really the case that this is the standard method? Or is it all a PR job?
Back in London, Merrilees meets Director of Respect for Animals Mark Glover who shows her a very different side of the story. As she watches shocking and graphic footage of animals in suffering as they are kept and killed for fur, Merrilees is moved to tears. And the images continue to haunt her as she wonders whether any of the celebrities pictured wearing fur in magazines would do so if they had seen what she has seen.
But is there still a middle ground where animals can spend their time in the wild before they're killed? To find out, Merrilees' journey finally takes her fur-trapping in the wild with retired Vietnam-sniper Johnny Wisenhurst. Together, they trap and skin a beaver and Merrilees thinks that "if I was ever going to wear fur it would be that kind of animal that I'd feel comfortable wearing".
So she returns to Denmark to a huge fur warehouse, from which many designers source their fur, to see whether she can trace the trapped fur which makes up around 20% of the market. But she is horrified to discover that "There are loads of guarantees on the quality of pelts but virtually no guarantees on good welfare practices."