Kathmandu and Koala sign up to global Fur Free Retailer program

FOUR PAWS Australia signs major brands to global program as animals used in the fashion industry gains consumer attention


International animal protection group, FOUR PAWS Australia, has welcomed two major brands to the global Fur Free Retailer program as the not-for-profit continues its push for animal welfare in fashion.  

Leading NZ outdoor brand, Kathmandu, and major Australian eco-furniture brand, Koala, have taken the strong stance against cruelty in the fur trade by signing the fur free pledge with FOUR PAWS Australia, at a time when ethical preferences continue to dominate consumer trends.  

Perhaps one of the most well-known animal welfare issues, fur remains a large industry responsible for the horrific treatment of millions of animals.  The global fur trade sources 95 percent of its fur from animals forced to live in small wire cages on fur farms.

“For 30 years, FOUR PAWS has campaigned globally on behalf of animals and their protection. Now we are in Australia, to bring a local voice to this global debate. It is fantastic to have such brands on board, who want to take a progressive stance on behalf of animals. Interest in animal-free choices is definitely on the rise in Australia, with vegan fashion and beauty products now part of mainstream trends and branding.”  

Elise Burgess, Head of Communications at FOUR PAWS Australia. 

Now run in over 20 countries, Fur Free Retailer is the world’s leading program to connect fur-free companies to consumers, with FOUR PAWS Australia the Australian representative.  

“Caring for the welfare of animals is important to Kathmandu because it is important to our customers, our team members, and our shareholders. We are proud to be considered a leader in this space and encourage other retailers to join and make the pledge to eliminate animal fur in any of their products,” said Ben Ryan, General Manager – Product, Kathmandu. 

“Koala is proud to be a fur-free retailer. We believe that all life is to be cherished, and exploiting animals is an anathema to how we operate. We've partnered with wildlife protection organisations to ensure that every sale of mattresses and sofas are accompanied with the adoption of koalas and green turtles respectively,” said Dany Milham, Managing Director for Koala, which sells in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Over 880 major labels including H&M, Michael Kors, Gucci, and Armani have also committed to fur free policies, not only prioritising animal welfare and consumer demands, but also supporting an end to fur’s image as a ‘luxury’ item. 

“On a global scale, major retailers and brands are increasingly recognising their responsibility for the welfare of animals, choosing animal-free materials or making demands about animal welfare for their supply chains,”

Elise Burgess, Head of Communications at FOUR PAWS Australia. 

In Australia, fur can be found as fur trims on jackets, fur accessories for handbags and even on some toys so FOUR PAWS Australia is asking people to help protect animals by not buying fur products or fashion with fur trim.

 tips on what Australians can do to avoid fur:

  • Australians can help protect animals simply by not buying fur products or fashion items such as jackets or gloves with fur trim. Many people would be surprised at how many accessories or fashionable trims are actually fur. To find Australian fashion retailers and brands that do not use fur, check the Fur Free Retailers list. 
  • Being alert when purchasing toys for children or pets. Shockingly, some furry toys may actually be made using real animal fur. Look closely at the product, and ask the store manager if it is real fur. If you are still unsure, it is best to choose a different product which is guaranteed animal-free.
  • Talk to brands and stores who stock fur products, and ask them to consider using only faux fur in their designs.

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.

Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.

With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au

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