Dressed in a short red dress and a Santa hat, former Coronation Street star Helen Flanagan will brave the December chill on Wednesday, when she’ll join a group of PETA members next to the Covent Garden Christmas tree with a sign reading, “Keep It Fur-Free Under the Xmas Tree”, to encourage consumers to leave fur off their holiday shopping lists.

“Fur is cruel and gruesome, and it belongs squarely in Christmas’ past”, says Flanagan, who was named FHM’s “Sexiest Woman in the UK” this year. “With all the wonderful stylish, fur-free designs available today, it’s never been easier to celebrate with Christmas gifts that are as kind as they are chic.”

Every coat, collar or cuff made of animal fur is a product of immense animal suffering. On fur farms, animals spend their entire lives in tiny, filthy cages before workers kill them by breaking their necks or electrocuting them. In China – the world’s largest fur exporter – some animals who are killed for their fur, including millions of cats and dogs, are even skinned alive.

Many top fashion designers – including Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Vivienne Westwood – are 100 percent fur-free.

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