In a shocking statement, fashion icon and Britain's Next Top Model host Elle Macpherson has admitted to using an illegal powdered substance priced at around $60,000 a kilo. I know what you're thinking, but in a way it's worse than that. The supermodel said she was a fan of taking 'medicinal' rhino horn, harvested from one of the world's most endangered species. When pressed for a reason why she would do such a thing, Macpherson answered simply, "Put it this way, works for me."Elle's disturbing admission came about through a Twitter-based interview conducted by The Sunday Times. Here's the pertinent exchange:
The Sunday Times: You're said to be a great fan of Chinese medicine. What does powdered rhino horn taste like?
Elle Macpherson: A little bit like crushed bone and fungus in a capsule. Does the job though.
The Sunday Times: How do you know that it works? A lot of people say Chinese medicine is quackery.
Elle Macpherson: Put it this way, works for me.
I know, right?
Needless to say, this came as quite a shock to conservationists groups, particularly considering the fact that Macpherson has shown sensitivity for endangered species in the past. Just last year, the supermodel participated in a boycott of a restaurant in London because it was serving blue fin tuna.
According to Sky News, The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was quick to condemn Macpherson's seemingly blatant disregard for one of the rarest species on Earth by eating rhino horns, the trade of which has been prohibited since 1977. The group has since sent the model a pamphlet outlining why the practice is so despicable.
Spokeswoman for the IFAW, Erica Martin:
There is no excuse for using any endangered animal products. First and foremost, selling rhino products is illegal and in breach of Cites. And secondly, four out of five species of rhino are literally on the brink of extinction. Elle has been a successful businesswoman with a high public profile for decades, and people do listen to what she says.
Since the story broke and the collective ire of reasonably-minded folks has been aimed at Macpherson, she's now saying it was all a joke and that she regrets making it. Today she spoke to News.com.au, saying she "never knowingly consumed or encouraged the use or consumption of any products which contain material derived from endangered species."
Sure, if the statements were made in a face-to-face interview, it might account for a tone of sarcasm that was lost in transcription, but that's not the case. We can only hope she absentmindedly forgot to put a winking emoticon after "Put it this way, works for me." Even then, it makes light of an issue that is no joking matter.
Many of the world's few remaining rhino species are teetering on the brink of extinction because poachers are killing them for their highly-valued horns, thought have medicinal qualities, even though that's been debunked for ages. Even if Elle Macpherson were to use her position as a public figure to raise awareness of the rhino's plight as opposed to basically joking about their deaths, chances are it wouldn't be enough to save them -- but we sure hope she gives it a try.