Further people-powered progress in the campaign against the cruel production of angora wool – global fashion brands New Look and Esprit have suspended angora production over animal-welfare concerns.
In a statement, New Look said: “we have taken action and put our angora production on immediate hold”. Likewise, Esprit said: “As long as the industry lacks credible certification and proof that it complies with according policies on animal welfare, Esprit imposes a ban on Angora wool”.
Angora, which is used to make gloves, sweaters, hats and scarves, comes from the fur of long-haired angora rabbits, and 90 per cent of angora wool is produced in China, where PETA Asia’s recent investigation has revealed that workers often rip the fur from the rabbits’ skin in handfuls while they’re conscious. As you would imagine, these timid animals are in agony while this happens. Wool obtained in this way is longer than fur obtained from shearing and so commands a higher price on the market – although as our video shows, shearing is also a traumatic and terrifying ordeal for rabbits.
PETA’s shocking video, exposing these barbaric practices, has already been seen by more than 150,000 people and has been making waves in the fashion world. The compassionate decisions by New Look and Esprit come hot on the heels of similar announcements from Swedish retailers H&M, Acne, Lindex, MQ and Gina Tricot. We’d like to say a big thanks to all these companies for listening to consumers. The next step is for them to commit to a full and permanent ban on angora products.
Fortunately, plenty of cosy, super-soft alternatives to animal-derived fabrics are widely available on the high street. Remember to check the label before you buy in order to make sure that no bunny suffered for your fashion choices. And if you’re looking for cruelty-free Christmas shopping ideas, check out our handy guide here.
Compassionate PETA supporters who have been contacting shops to challenge the sale of angora deserve credit for all the wonderful progress so far! Please, let’s build on this momentum – keep on sharing the video and speaking out when you see other stores selling angora.
MTV Europe host Laura Whitmore is the celebrity judge for our ethical shoe design competition with vegan brand Beyond Skin! The bubbly Irish beauty and style icon will be casting her expert eye over the shortlisted entries and deciding which ones are hot or not.
She explains why she chose to get on board with the trend toward vegan shoes:
I truly believe that the future of fashion lies in sustainable, cruelty-free materials, and companies like Beyond Skin and organisations like PETA are leading the way in creating awareness. I hope I can help a budding creative to kick-start a career in fashion.
We all have a choice when it comes to fashion. But most importantly, the consumer needs to be aware where their clothes and accessories are coming from. Sadly, the demand for snakeskin, lizard skin and other exotic skins fuels poaching and extreme cruelty and has caused many species to become endangered. Wildlife experts have said that the endangered species of tomorrow can be seen in the fashion magazines of today.
For someone who loves fashion and cares about animals, the great news is that from the catwalk to the high street, the availability of clothes and shoes made from faux leather and faux suede is on the rise.
I am simply looking for ambitious young designers to put their best vegan foot forward and show me their idea for a new cruelty-free pump, flat, bootie or wedge. This competition is their chance to be a part of the trend towards compassionate fashion.
She also shared her own footwear ideas: “I would probably design some outrageously high faux-leather ankle boots that would be impossible to walk in. Good job I’m not entering!”
For your chance to be one of our finalists, send us your shoe designs by 13 December. Full details are available here: PETAUK.org/BeyondSkin
It’s that time of year again: cheesy songs, Christmas lights, tinsel, mince pies and shops crowded with busy shoppers buying presents for their loved ones. Today is actually Black Friday, officially the busiest shopping day of the year (closely followed by Cyber Monday three days later), and to mark the occasion, we’re sharing our tips for cruelty-free gifts that will delight your family and friends and don’t come with a hidden price tag for animals.
Here are some tips to ensure that your purchases are full of real Christmas cheer for humans and animals alike.
The naughty list:
- Avoid angora wool. PETA Asia’s recent investigation reveals that in order to produce the material, fully conscious rabbits often have the fur ripped from their skin, as they scream in pain. Check labels carefully to make sure that your knitwear doesn’t contain any percentage of this product of extreme cruelty.
- Definitely don’t buy foie gras. There’s probably no way that you would anyway, but please also stay away from shops such as Fortnum & Mason that insist on selling the vile foodstuff, which is made by cruelly force-feeding ducks and geese.
- Forget fur trim. That little bit of fur around the edge of a jacket or hat may once have been a beloved family pet, abducted and skinned alive at a Chinese animal market.
- Stay away from down-filled “comforters” or jackets, as they are quite the reverse of comforting for the birds who are plucked alive in order to produce them – or for anyone aware of how these animals suffer.
- Boycott breeders and “pet shops”. Everyone knows that a puppy, kitten or any other animal from a breeder or “pet shop” isn’t an appropriate Christmas gift.
The good list:
- Find fabulous “faux” items. Cosy faux fur, leather and snakeskin are the fabrics to go for since killing animals for their skins is neither necessary nor festive. Fashion favourites who’ve sworn off using fur or exotic skins in their collections include Topshop, ASOS and AllSaints. And if you’re after stunning sustainable shoes, check out Beyond Skin.
- Pamper your loved ones with cruelty-free cosmetics. We can’t get enough of ethical company LUSH’s gorgeous scented products – and for more options that aren’t tested on animals, check out PETA US’ international cruelty-free list.
- Cook up some vegan Christmas biscuits for a cute and cheap homemade pressie. Here are a couple of recipes that will make it easy.
- Stuff stockings with delicious dairy-free chocolates. Booja-Booja truffles are always a treat, while Moo Free, Hotel Chocolat and Plamil are other great sources of goodies that will satisfy any vegan’s sweet tooth.
- If you can, consider giving an animal from a shelter the best present ever by welcoming him or her into your home in 2014. Taking on the responsibility of caring for an animal is a serious matter. Unlike heartless breeders and money-grabbing “pet shops” that exploit animals as mere Christmas presents, shelters will take the time to discuss your circumstances and find the perfect animal match for you at any time of the year.
These are just a few suggestions – there are hundreds of possibilities for creative cruelty-free gifts. Let us know what’s on your Christmas list in the comments.
Hurrah! After being made aware of video footage from PETA Asia’s investigation of angora farms in China – where 90 per cent of the world’s angora is produced – H&M has announced that it is halting the production of angora products because of the horrific cruelty inflicted on rabbits.
The video shows how terrified bunnies have the fur torn from their bodies as they scream in pain. Workers grab the rabbits and rip out handful after handful of hair, until the animals are left bleeding and completely bare. Then they are shoved back into their filthy cages. It’s caused outrage around the world, as shocked consumers learn the cruel origin of their angora scarves, hats, gloves and jumpers.
Well done, H&M! The company has already proved that it has a conscience in the past, with commendable decisions to keep exotic animal skins and wool from mulesed sheep out of its stores, and today’s news indicates that the Swedish retailer is continuing to lead the way in modern, ethical fashion. Although it will not immediately be taking existing angora products off the shelves, it will offer customers a refund for any angora items that they bought before realising how they were produced. Other Swedish companies, including Lindex, MQ, Acne and Gina Tricot have also halted angora production.
Thanks are also in order for the more than 13,000 people who pledged never to wear angora on our website and who are spreading the word about rabbits’ suffering by sharing the video. Your actions are helping to create the momentum needed to get the fashion world to take notice and take action against the cruel production of angora.
Let’s hope H&M’s decision will inspire other retailers to give rabbits hope by banishing angora from their stores as well. In the meantime, please continue to get the word out about these abused animals by signing and sharing our pledge.
Image: jpockele / CC BY 2.0
From in the ring and on the track, vegan athletes are proving that people don’t need dairy products and meat to compete. Meat-free athletes include mixed martial arts fighters Jake Shields and Mac Danzig and ultra-endurance racers Rich Roll and Brendan Brazier, amongst many others. And it seems vegan diets are even spreading to cricket pitches.
Peter Siddle, the Australian bowler, has recently ditched meat from his diet: “I did a lot of research, read up on a lot of other athletes and people around the world who live like that, trying to learn from other people’s stories.”
So with the trend toward choosing a healthy vegan diet, it is no surprise that the leaked menu for the England cricket team’s Ashes tour was chockfull of healthy vegan options.
The menu was shared online and can be seen at The Sydney Morning Herald‘s website. While it isn’t all vegan, it does give compassionate eaters on the team lots to choose from. It includes animal-free mains, entrées, breakfasts and desserts that will make your mouth water. Recipes include quinoa and cranberry breakfast bars, a grilled aubergine with red pepper, red onion and basil purée, thai peanut tofu, red lentil and coconut soup, a courgette and coconut chilli and a delicious-sounding chocolate and sesame ganache.
We went ahead and cooked just a few of our favourite-sounding vegan items from the menu and put them to the test!
After sampling the vegan options in the menu, we’ll be cheering on England in the Ashes knowing full well that the players who chose these items at tea break will have all the strength and stamina that they need to leave sluggish meat-eaters in the dust. To learn about how a well-rounded vegan diet is packed full of the essential nutrients that any athlete, or anyone else, needs, download our free vegan starter kit.
They say an image is worth a thousand words, which is why our friends over at PETA Australia came up with a striking Banksy-inspired visual to drive home the fate of animals in the live-export industry:
The photos are kind of cute – that is, until you remember that they represent the thousands of real sheep and cows who are crammed onto ships and endure a terrifying journey that can last for days or even weeks before eventually arriving at their destination: a slaughterhouse in the Middle East where they will be killed, often cruelly and without prior stunning.
Sheep are gentle, sensitive animals and can pick up on different expressions on human faces, as well as recognising the faces of up to 50 other sheep. Although they tend to live in herds, each sheep is unique and has an individual personality, just as we do.
Many sheep raised by the Australian wool industry end their lives in the live-export industry. But this horrific practice has also recently resumed in England and Ireland. Please take action for animals who are forced to undertake this grim “voyage of despair”, which ends in certain death: http://petauk.org/voyageofdespair
Two of them are related. Two of them made their name in music, and two have a talent for fashion. But what all these compassionate stars share is a meat-free diet. That’s right – Stella McCartney, Morrissey, Vivienne Westwood, Paul McCartney and Alan Cumming are all vegetarian and proud!
Now, they’re going to be gracing Americans’ Christmas cards this holiday season as part of a limited-edition set of stamps launched by PETA US that honours famous vegetarians. The set also features celebrated plant-eaters from across the pond, including Ricky Martin, Pamela Anderson, Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix.
Dame Vivienne went vegetarian because she believes that we should “not consume but live in harmony” with the world. And Stella McCartney – who, like Westwood, refuses to use fur in her designs – credits her father with instilling vegetarian values in her. “One of the things I was taught growing up was, ‘Do unto others as you would have done to yourself’”, she says. “It’s a way of life.” Paul McCartney, of course, is well known for his kindness and coined the apt saying “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”
Morrissey famously titled The Smiths’ 1985 album Meat Is Murder, and he’s still playing the title track live on tour, while Scottish actor Alan Cumming, who famously blasted fur-wearers from onstage in Cabaret, thinks “killing to make or eat things is horrific”. We agree!
Although the Christmas stamps aren’t available in the UK, our free vegetarian/vegan starter kit is! So if you haven’t already made your diet animal-friendly, please follow these celebrities’ compassionate lead and order yours today:
Stella McCartney Image: © Mary McCartney
Yesterday, in a move that genuinely put animal welfare first, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that the EU ban on the import of seal fur and other products because of “moral concerns” is legal.
The WTO was not impressed by Canada’s far-fetched claim that the commercial seal slaughter can somehow be humane, meaning that Canada’s desperate attempt to revive the archaic and cruel practice of bludgeoning baby seals to death may have finally died. This victory comes on the heels of pleas from tens of thousands of PETA supporters and letters to the panel from Jude Law on PETA’s behalf, as well as from Canadian Pamela Anderson.
Since there are now no remaining markets for seal fur, the WTO’s ruling may be the final nail in the sealing industry’s coffin. Instead of squandering millions more in taxpayer dollars appealing yet another international ruling against it, Canada should pursue a buyout, which would help seals and sealers.
Although it looks like the barbaric seal-fur trade’s days are numbered, both from a moral and an economic point of view, you can still help to hasten its demise by taking action:
Image: chapmankj75 / CC BY 2.0
Did you know that some airlines are propping up the cruel and sinister vivisection industry? China Southern Airlines ships monkeys from their homes in the wild or from squalid breeding facilities to laboratories in the EU and the US, where they are imprisoned in tiny cages, force-fed chemicals, crippled, cut into and killed.
PETA supporters took part in a striking protest in Whitehall today to shine a light on this shocking practice. The demo was planned to coincide with an aviation conference attended by Tan Wangeng, the president and CEO of China Southern Airlines.
The sight of these compassionate volunteers wearing monkey masks and squashed into cages was an embarrassing reminder for China Southern Airlines that it is one of only two major airlines that still transports primates for animal testing (Air France is the other). Thanks in part to creative campaigning by PETA and its international affiliates, Philippine Airlines, Air China, British Airways and many others refuse to participate in this violent and bloody industry.
The outcry against China Southern Airlines for its unethical primate trafficking policy has been massive. More than 20,000 people have written to the company to explain that they won’t fly on an airplane that could have crates of terrified monkeys in the cargo hold. Please speak out for primates, and send your message to China Southern Airlines today: PETAUK.org/CSAir.
Barely a week goes by in which we don’t learn of another business throwing out foie gras, the cruel foodstuff which is made by force-feeding ducks and geese until their livers become diseased.
Compassionate PETA supporters are often behind these heartening successes against foie gras. There’s now such a stigma attached to this vile product that a single person speaking out against it can be enough to persuade companies that they’d be better off not selling it.
Here are some recent highlights:
- Award-winning Cheshire hotel Alderley Edge has just confirmed to us that it’s removing foie gras from its menus, now and forever, after hearing from a concerned customer and receiving a letter from PETA.
- PETA’s celebrity campaigner, Meg Mathews, got foie gras removed from London restaurant XO, after having a word with the manager. “The manager was really polite and took everything I said on board”, she recalls. “Later on, I sent them some facts and photographs and the following day they told me they were taking it off the menu. That felt great. I hope this encourages other restaurants to follow suit.”
- The BBC’s MasterChef has vowed never to feature the foodstuff because of its unethical production methods after hearing from PETA and other animal-protection groups. We’re still waiting, however, for shows such as the Great British Menu and Channel 4′s Come Dine With Me to follow suit.
- Oxfordshire’s Oakman Inns also joined the ranks of foie gras–free retailers this month, with owner Peter Borg-Neal explaining that “the risk of cruelty is too high to be acceptable to me”.
In fact, that’s putting it mildly. In foie gras production, cruelty isn’t a risk – it’s a certainty. Birds have metal pipes shoved down their throats multiple times a day so that massive amounts of grain can be pumped into their stomachs. Video footage released earlier this month showed how intensely the birds suffer as they become exhausted and ill from the relentless force-feeding and poor living conditions.
Fortunately, the dwindling demand for foie gras in this country means that fewer ducks and geese are being tortured in this way for UK consumption. (Producing foie gras in Britain is thankfully illegal under animal-welfare laws.) We’d like to send a big thank-you to these businesses for ditching foie gras – and to the activists who put pressure on them to do the right thing.
If you see a restaurant or shop selling foie gras, please don’t be afraid to express your disappointment (politely). You can also join our campaign against one of the worst offenders when it comes to supporting foie gras cruelty – department store Fortnum & Mason: petauk.org/RoyalWarrants