FOUR PAWS, one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations, began because of fur. But our mission to end the suffering of animals abused for fashion has only just begun.
In the late 1980s, FOUR PAWS was born after a group of friends in Austria knew they needed to raise awareness of animal cruelty within the fur industry. Since that day, we have successfully seen the closure of many fur farms and a rise in compassion for animals all over the world.
But our mission to create a kinder world for animals continues.
Millions of animals are suffering around the world for fashion every year. Many are caged, mutilated and face a brutal death for our clothing choices. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
FOUR PAWS has launched its Wear it Kind campaign in 2019 in an effort to encourage Australian, US and global brands to show leadership in improving their business practices and promoting how businesses can succeed when they value animal protection.
Through Wear it Kind, we are asking brands and people alike to take the pledge to make animal protection in fashion a priority.
Together, we can build an animal-friendly fashion future.
What are the animal welfare issues in fashion?
Every year, millions of animals suffer and are killed for the global demand for clothing. While there are significant animal welfare issues to be addressed across the global fashion trade, below are the four key areas of concern for FOUR PAWS.
Perhaps one of the most well-known animal welfare issues, fur, is a large industry responsible for the horrific treatment of millions of animals. The global fur trade sources 95% of its fur from animals forced to live in small wire cages on fur farms.
Fur farms consist of breeding fur-bearing animals and trapping them in the wild to produce ‘luxury’ fashion items. Many people are unaware that these animals’ deaths are caused by electrocution, gassing or neck breaking, which is as cruel as keeping them in captivity. In Australia, fur can be found as fur trims on jackets, fur accessories for handbags and even on some toys.
Learn more about Fur and what you can do to help animals.
Mulesing is a painful animal mutilation practice carried out to prevent flystrike. Mulesing is the process of restraining lambs, usually 6-12 weeks old, on their backs in a metal cradle and using shears, similar to garden shears, to cut away folds of skin around their buttocks.
Mulesing causes millions of lambs to suffer fear, stress and acute pain every year, this pain can last up to three days and leaves a wound which can take weeks to heal. As better alternatives do exist, however, the practice of mulesing is simply unnecessary long-term and cruel.
Due to consumer concern, the Australian wool industry committed to phasing out mulesing by 2010. Unfortunately, this commitment was abandoned in 2009, and millions of lambs continue to be mulesed across Australia every year. With a lack of industry leadership to enable change, it’s now up to consumers and brands to demand an end to mulesing.
As of 2019, approximately 3,000 Australian wool producers have already stopped mulesing, making up about 10% of the national output. While progress has been happening in response to consumer demands, what is needed now is an industry-wide push for change that is long overdue.
Learn more about Mulesing, flystrike and the alternatives.
Like fur, exotic leather is an industry which slaughters millions of crocodiles, pythons, alligators and ostriches (among others) every year, just for their skins. A global trade, these animals can suffer very poor welfare standards on farm, and brutal slaughter methods, while wildlife trafficking and poaching also present a significant concern, with the illegal trade blurred with the legal farming of animals.
Chanel, Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Westwood, Diane von Furstenberg stopped using exotic skins in their collections, as did brands including Topshop, H&M and department store Selfridges.
Learn more about the reality behind Exotic Leather.
Down is considered a primary material for many major brands globally, particularly for brands who cater for winter or outdoor apparel. It is often sourced through the brutal practice of live plucking duck and geese feathers and down. Up to 40 geese can be live plucked just to make one duvet.
The welfare of geese and ducks is severely lacking around the world, as is the information about where feathers used for clothing even come from. Due to this lack of transparency, Australians should avoid, or consider the source of the down before purchasing clothing which includes this material.
Get the lowdown on Down.