October 01, 2007 07:00 AM

Dita Von Teese, who stars in PETA’s new Animal Birth Control campaign, is a long-time wearer of fur. And the animal-rights organization says it’s okay with that.

“PETA’s totally aware of me,” Von Teese told PEOPLE before performing – in fox fur – her signature striptease at the Macy’s Passport AIDS benefit last week. “I’m not working with PETA to tell people to be vegetarians or to stop wearing fur. I am there to strictly speak about spaying and neutering your pets.”

The animal-rights organization says it was aware of Von Teese’s fur affections before approaching her to star in its campaign.

“She said she has some vintage furs she wears occasionally,” says spokesman Michael McGraw. “PETA often works with a celebrity on an issue they feel comfortable supporting, whether it’s supporting spaying and neutering, or speaking out against products that are tested on animals. So they may not be an animal rights activist, but their contribution to any of our campaigns is appreciated.”

The group says it has not yet asked Von Teese to stop wearing fur, but might “possibly” have that discussion in the future. “We’re happy to have her support on that issue (spay/neutering), and we’ll see where it goes,” says McGraw.

• Reporting by SHRUTI DHALWALA

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