Clothing

Millions of animals are farmed, hunted, abused and killed to make clothing, footwear and accessories.

Fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2003. However, the sale of fur is still legal. These days, most people wouldn’t wear a full-length fur coat but they may not realize that the trim and pompoms on collars, hoods, scarves, bags and boots could be real strips of fur or real tails. Cheap fur items have been found to be made of cat and dog fur. Always check the label of furry items to make sure you’re buying 100% synthetic. (That said, not all labels can be trusted, as real fur has been found on sale disguised as fake.)

These rabbits used for food and fur are crowded into wire cages. Photo: We Animals / Animal Equality
These rabbits used for food and fur are crowded into wire cages. Photo: We Animals / Animal Equality

 

Leather is not a byproduct of the meat industry: the sale of the animals’ skins plays a vital part in keeping animal farming and slaughter profitable.

Skins removed from dead cattle at slaughterhouse. Photo: JMcArthur / We Animals
Skins removed from dead cattle at slaughterhouse. Photo: JMcArthur / We Animals

 

Reptiles also suffer in the name of fashion: snakes may be nailed to trees and skinned alive, crocodiles and alligators are typically raised in farms where they are bludgeoned to death or have their spines severed with a chisel and mallet, and lizards are often decapitated before having their skin ripped off.

The inside of an alligator factory farm. They are grouped according to age in small pools of shallow water. They will live in these cramped conditions until they are slaughtered. Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals
The inside of an alligator factory farm. They are grouped according to age in small pools of shallow water. They will live in these cramped conditions until they are slaughtered. Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

 

The production of wool also contributes to animal suffering. Shearing live animals is often carried out with little regard for welfare, causing stress and injury. Shearing of pregnant ewes in the winter is sometimes done to enable more of them to be crowded into housing and may leave them suffering from cold, at risk of contracting disease, and miscarrying. Many lambs are subjected to painful castration and, in Australia, a horrendous process called ‘mulesing’, in which chunks of flesh around their rear ends are sliced off in order to prevent flies laying eggs there.

A sheep is restrained by metal bars while shears are used to cut chunks of skin and flesh off. Photo: PETA
A sheep is restrained by metal bars while shears are used to cut chunks of skin and flesh off. Photo: PETA

 

A 2014 investigation into the Chinese angora industry found shocking evidence of angora rabbits literally being skinned alive. The footage caused global outrage and was so horrendous multiple designers and high street retailers pledged to discontinue using angora.

A rabbit is tied up by her feet and her skin stretched as it is sheared on a Chinese angora farm. Photo: PETA
A rabbit is tied up by her feet and her skin stretched as it is sheared on a Chinese angora farm. Photo: PETA

 

Down (feathers) used to line puffa jackets and anoraks may come from geese and ducks who have been plucked alive. Ripping out birds’ feathers is extremely painful and distressing, and can cause them to bleed from their follicles. While some feathers come from dead birds, live plucking is done because it is more productive, as a live bird can be plucked over and over again.

Geese huddle together after their feathers have been ripped out. Photo: PETA
Geese huddle together after their feathers have been ripped out. Photo: PETA

 

Silk is made by harvesting the cocoons of millions of silkworms. It takes hundreds of silkworms to make just one scarf or tie. These harmless creatures are typically killed by being boiled alive.

Silk worm shown alongside cocoons
Silk worm shown alongside cocoons