Woman with sheep

New study: Pandemic leads to increased demand for compassion in fashion

FOUR PAWS reveals that almost 90 per cent of shoppers want fashion industry to prioritise animal welfare


3 August, 2021 – Millions of animals suffer, are mutilated or die every year for fashion items made of fur, leather and wool. Yet, new research commissioned by global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has revealed there is strong demand for more kindness to animals in our wardrobes. A YouGov poll of almost 14,000 participants across twelve countries* found that nearly two thirds of adults (64%) are aware of animal cruelty in the fashion industry and since COVID-19, almost another third (31%) are now either seeking products with high animal welfare credentials or avoiding animal-based products all together. FOUR PAWS program Wear it Kind urges consumers and industry to say “No” to animal cruelty, and to choose only animal friendly sustainable fashion.

According to FOUR PAWS new research, every third (37%) adult chooses one fashion brand over another if they prioritise animal welfare. Overall awareness levels of animal cruelty in fashion are constantly rising.  

Globally, nine out of ten people (86%) want companies to make animal protection a key priority alongside environmental protection and social standards.

“The survey results show consumers increasingly expect brands to ensure the welfare of the animals used within their supply chains. Brands acting in this way, are more likely to resonate well with consumers. Though the results are encouraging we need more people to be aware of animal cruelty when buying textiles, more transparency within animal supply chains, and to achieve good animal welfare outcomes, a reduction in the use of animal-derived materials overall.” 

- Jessica Medcalf, 'Animal Welfare in Fashion' Expert at FOUR PAWS

A global trend

The research revealed that since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, fashion purchasing habits have changed significantly.  

In Australia, the 2021 survey of 1,060 survey respondents found that:

  • 84% agree that companies should make animal protection a key priority alongside environmental protection and social standards.
  • 71% agree that retailers sourcing wool should phase out their use of mulesed sheep wool.  
  • Australian adults are very or fairly concerned about animal welfare in the fashion industry, the most to least common being: fur (71%), exotic leather (61%), domestic leather (50%), down feathers (50%) and wool (35%).
  • 59% of surveyed Australians agree fashion brands should be transparent about their standards when it comes to animal welfare, with one in three Australians saying they will prioritise one fashion brand over another if they prioritise animal welfare.

In fashion-conscious Italy, almost two-thirds (64%) have made changes to how they purchase fashion. A quarter of French respondents (27%) state they now seek sustainable fashion with higher animal welfare standards but at the same time are least interested (8%) in ditching animal products completely. While globally one in eight (13%) has decided to now avoid animal-based fashion products all together, with Bulgarians (28%), South Africans (20%) and Austrians (17%) topping the list. 

Wear it Kind in Australia

The Wear it Kind campaign was developed and launched in Australia in 2019, before becoming a global initiative for FOUR PAWS.

“Through our Wear it Kind program, we’re committed to supporting and encouraging brands to reduce their use of animal derived materials, refine their supply chain practices to ensure animal welfare is achieved holistically, and overtime replace animal products for sustainable animal-free materials,” says Medcalf.

"While fur has been in focus internationally for some time, many other cruel practices also persist including the live plucking of geese, shocking mutilation practices within the wool industry, and brutal killing and keeping conditions of animals used for leather.

Together we can end this cruelty, and work towards achieving an animal friendly fashion future."

- Jessica Medcalf, 'Animal Welfare in Fashion' Expert at FOUR PAWS

Wear it Kind campaign successes

Wear it Kind is already responsible for major wins including the launch of the Brands Against Mulesing list, which features over 200 brands, and has developed the world’s first Animal Welfare in Fashion Report, a study of 77 leading Australian and global brands and the animal welfare risks in their supply chains.

Shoppers can help by pledging to Wear it Kind via https://help.four-paws.org/en-AU/take-pledge-wear-it-kind while the fashion industry can access detailed reports, case studies and support guides on how to include animal welfare in supply chains here: https://wearitkind.four-paws.org.au/industry-information-and-tools.


*The global study was conducted online between 7th-18th January 2021, and is comprised of representative samples of the following twelve markets:

| Australia | 1,060 |
| Austria | 1,054 |
| Bulgaria | 1,013 |
| France | 1,027 |
| Germany | 2,038 |
| Italy | 1,024 |
| Netherlands | 1,046 |
| South Africa | 508 |
| Spain | 1,026 |
| Switzerland | 529 |
| United Kingdom | 2,109 |
| United States | 1,213 |
| Total | 13,647 | adults 18+ (51% female, 49% male)

Global report

Global report

See the full results here



Together, we can drive an animal-friendly fashion future

Take the pledge
Elise Burgess

Elise Burgess

Head of Communications


M: 0423 873 382

FOUR PAWS Australia
GPO Box 2845 

Main Phone: 1800 454 228

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

Share now!