Protest outside Max Mara clothing store

Max Mara Fails to Commit to Go Fur-Free Despite Hiding Fur Items Online

FOUR PAWS and Fur Free Alliance encouraged over 274,000 supporters to send protest mails


Sydney 8 March 2024 – After intense weeks of campaigning against fashion brand Max Mara to phase-out fur, the Italian brand has reacted: it has removed all fur items from the Fashion Group’s international website. This follows the relentless protest actions in the streets of European capitals and online activities by all partners from the Fur Free Alliance (FFA), to which the global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS belongs. Max Mara has so far refused to discuss the issue and has yet to distance itself publicly by committing to clear phase-out plans. FOUR PAWS will continue calling on the company to follow suit as many of the  major Italian fashion brands such as Armani, Gucci and Versace already went fur-free.

“Over 274,000 protest mails, 5,000 calls and countless posts on Social Media cannot be as easily hidden as fur items within a webshop. Nor can Max Mara’s responsibility for millions of killed minks, foxes and raccoon dogs that have to cruelly die every year for fashion interests, simply be swiped under the rug. In a time where animal free alternatives are so easily available and awareness about the cruelty of the industry and its negative impact on animals and the climate alike are so obvious, fur is simply outworn. We will relentlessly continue with all our efforts to nudge Max Mara into a kind and fur-free future.”

Thomas Pietsch, Head of Animals in Textiles at FOUR PAWS

Fur industry - animal cruelty and ecological nightmare

On fur factory farms, wild animals spend their entire lives in wire-bottom cages, deprived of the ability to engage in natural behaviours—only to be killed by gassing or anal-electrocution. In the wild, animals are held in traps for days without food or water until trappers come to retrieve them, often gnawing off their own limb first in a desperate attempt to escape.

Fur production is also environmentally devastating. Fur factory farms and tanneries are extremely harmful to our soil and waterways—pumping waste and the toxic chemicals into the surrounding environment. And the traps responsible for killing wild animals are indiscriminate, often maiming and killing non-target animals, like endangered species and people’s pets. All told, the fur industry is an environmental nightmare.

Now that the majority of consumers want nothing to do with the fur trade, major fashion brands have responded by announcing policies prohibiting the use of fur. Twenty countries throughout Europe have banned fur production because of animal cruelty and risks to the environment and public health. In addition, Israel, California and 14 cities across the U.S. have banned fur sales to create a more humane marketplace and drive innovation.

Fur Free Retailer Program

The Fur Free Retailer Program is the world's leading initiative to connect fur-free businesses with consumers looking for ethically produced products. The program is an initiative of the Fur Free Alliance (FFA), which is active in over 35 countries around the world. The Alliance is an international coalition of over 40 animal welfare organisations working together to end the breeding and killing of animals for their fur. More than 1,500 brands and retailers are now part of the initiative.

FOUR PAWS is the official representative of the Fur Free Retailer Program in Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, the United States and South Africa. The global animal welfare organisation offers support and advice to companies aiming for a demonstrably fur-free new start. To this end, FOUR PAWS is available as a contact and mediator in the high-profile joining of the international FFR Program.

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.

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