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Italian Animal Rights Group Asks Pope To Stop Wearing Fur

ROME (AP) _ An Italian animal rights group is asking Pope Benedict XVI to give up his fur, including an ermine-trimmed red velvet cape and papal hat, in ``a choice of high religious and ethical value.''

``It would be a praiseworthy example of Christian charity,'' Roberto Bennati, the deputy chairman of the Anti-Vivisection League, said in a statement released late Friday.

Benedict sometimes wears a fur-trimmed hat called a ``camauro,'' headgear popular with pontiffs in the 17th century. He has also donned a red velvet cape trimmed in ermine.

The Anti-Vivisection League made its appeal ahead of a papal trip later this month to Pavia, a northern city that is home to some of Italy's furriers.

``In the respect for the sacredness of all living species, we urge the Holy Father to make a choice of high religious and ethical value, giving up fur on this occasion as well as in the future,'' said Bennati.

The Vatican has not publicly responded to the appeal.
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