Animalkind provides practical advice to help readers put their new understanding of animals into action, focusing on the four fields where animals are most often exploited: medical science, clothing, entertainment, and food. Advances in technology are increasingly able to replace harmful medical experiments on animals, and innovations in animal-free materials have led major fashion designers – and most recently, her majesty The Queen – to take a stand against using real fur. Animalkind offers alternatives for all the uses animals once served in our lives.
Forty years ago, Ingrid Newkirk founded PETA US – the largest animal rights organisation in the world. Ever since, she has been an unstoppable force in the animal rights movement, leading the (often contentious) conversation and paving the way for future generations of activists. Now, Ingrid is joining forces with bestselling author Gene Stone to publish Animalkind, which is basically a manifesto for anyone looking to lead a cruelty-free life.
Here, the authors share an extract with GLAMOUR UK to inform our readers how to curate a cruelty-free wardrobe…
Don’t wear fur, coats with fur trim, or hats with fur pom-poms or tassels.
Consider faux fur alternatives, which are usually more affordable than the genuine article.
Don’t wear leather and don’t use leather accessories and furniture, like briefcases, suitcases, couches, or chairs. Choose one of the myriad faux leather alternatives. Fibers from coconut water, pineapple, soy, fruit waste, apples, paper, wood, cork, mushrooms, and even substances derived from kombucha tea and grape leaves are all being used to
make vegan leather. The pioneer vegan shoe company is Vegetarian Shoes, started in Brighton, England, and is patronized by Sir Paul McCartney among others. It ships shoes worldwide, so visit https://www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk. But vegan shoe companies are springing up everywhere, including New York and Los Angeles, where MooShoes has outlets (and sells online: https://www.mooshoes.myshopify.com). Even Yves Saint Laurent and Steve Madden offer vegan men’s shoe selections.
Avoid silk. Plenty of more affordable, more durable, and super comfortable and luxurious-feeling options exist. Consider Lyocell or modal. Don’t trust silk suppliers selling ahimsa silk, also known as “peace silk.” Ahimsa silk is supposedly produced by a method that allows moths to go through their natural life cycles and emerge from their cocoons as fully fledged moths before the cocoons are collected and turned into silk. The reality is that there is no authority to adjudicate these standards, and traditional silk harvested using cruel practices is sometimes sold as “peace silk.”
Shun wool. There are wonderful, stylish alternatives to wearing wool, and thanks to advances in technology, many of the uses for which wool was long prized (for example, keeping warm in wet, cold weather or while exercising heavily and perspiring) can now be better accomplished through synthetic fabrics like polar fleece. Even companies that claim to farm wool responsibly, such as Patagonia, have been revealed to use suppliers guilty of horrendous cruelty to sheep.
Don’t buy down-filled Canada Goose coats, or any other down coats or
comforters. Don’t trust labels claiming that a coat’s down has been sourced responsibly, as there is no definition of “responsible” and usually no transparency in the supply chain. Restoration Hardware, Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and West Elm all offer a synthetic option for nearly every down item they sell. In fact, Williams Sonoma recently committed to increasing their offerings with synthetic fill by 1,230 percent. Crate and Barrel and CB2 both offer synthetic down inserts for their decorative pillows – and the sleepwear-focused Land of Nod offers a synthetic insert called Natural Harmony. Some UK retailers have banned down entirely, including: Adolfo Domínguez, ASOS private label, Boohoo (the parent company of Nasty Gal), Dr. Martens, Fat Face, Hobbs, Jigsaw, Monsoon Accessorize Ltd., Nigel Hall Menswear, Reiss, Topshop, Primark, Warehouse, Whistles, and White Stuff.
If you’re heading into the backcountry, select brands like Marmot and The North Face, both of which offer thermal insulating alternatives to down that will keep you warm and safe wherever your adventures take you. There are dozens of alternatives to wool and down that every active person should be aware of: Using technologies like Polartec,
Thermogreen, Omni-Heat, PrimaLoft, rPET, Gore-Tex, ThermoBall, Plumtech, modal, Thermafill, and ThermaCheck, adventure brands everywhere are bringing cruelty-free products to the harshest conditions Mother Nature can throw at you.
If you prefer driving over walking, make good decisions when shopping for a new car. Tell the salesperson that you don’t want to look at any models with leather interior trim. Not only can this knock a few thousand dollars off the asking price, three to eight animals are killed to produce the typical leather interior. Choosing a vegan interior helps
send a message to the world’s leather producers that the cruelty they cause animals is now unacceptable.
Want to go one step further? Wear clothes that proclaim your anticruelty stance loudly and proudly through eye-catching slogans sure to get you – and your values – noticed. Brands like Vegan Police, Veganized World, In The Soulshine, Wholesome Culture, Alba Paris Art, Viva la Riva, Barefoot Bones, Vegetaryn, Wear Bare Bones, Crazies and Weirdos, The Tree Kisser, and RAW Apparel all make Tshirts and accessories emblazoned with slogans like: “Meat Sucks,” or “Talk Vegan to Me.” Many of these brands also sell cruelty-free versions of accessories like wallets, belts, bags, and other items that are vegan.
Make your consumer dollars count
Don’t keep your activism in the closet. Write a letter or tweet to brands that continue to exploit animals. Tell them why you’ve stopped buying their products. Be polite, but be specific and firm. Writing to a big brand might feel insignificant, but never doubt the power of your voice. If a CEO realises that many consumers are actively choosing other brands because of the company’s stance on animal welfare, that brand is that much more likely to change its business practices, identify a new supplier, or discontinue a line of products altogether.
Phoning or sending a letter to your local legislators can have an impact. So can getting involved in local politics by attending local committee meetings, rallies, and other community events. You will find more people in your community who share your values than you realise.
For instance, in spring 2018, San Francisco voted to ban the sale of fur outright, becoming the first major American city to do so (Los Angeles quickly followed). This victory came on the heels of weeks of appeals by animal rights activists to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. These citizens debated local fur retailers in committee meetings, rallied at City Hall, and kept the pressure on their legislators so much that the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the ban on fur sales unanimously. And actress Alicia Silverstone wrote a letter to the board explaining that the ban would make her “even more proud to call San Francisco home.”
However, you don’t have to be famous for your letters to make a difference. Legislators estimate that for every letter they receive on an issue, there are a thousand more constituents who care just as deeply. Make writing letters to your state and federal representatives a regular part of your routine and ask others to join you. The San Francisco fur ban and other landmark achievements would never have occurred without compassionate citizens choosing to make their voices heard.
Just make a start
What if you’ve only recently started taking steps to make your wardrobe cruelty-free? What should you do with the wool sweaters, leather jackets and accessories, or old fur coats you used to wear? Now that you’ve made the decision to dress yourself compassionately, it might feel strange – or even downright wrong – to keep your old derived clothing around. It might seem expensive to replace your clothing unless you are a trendy or practical thrift shopper. Don’t worry: if you don’t want to do it all in one go, consider replacing old items with cruelty-free alternatives as they age or when you decide you no longer have a use for them. Consider donating anything made from an animal to charity. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and homeless shelters could all make good use of your old clothing for people who cannot afford to choose. Any fur items may be welcome at a local wildlife center where they might help keep an orphaned baby animal warm and safe until she is healthy enough to walk or fly on her own. Animal protection groups will give you a tax deduction for your furs, too, and use them in educational displays or send them to refugee centers overseas. For more ideas on how to recycle your old clothing, check out www.veganrabbit.com.
It’s never too late
Maybe you’re someone who eats vegan, donates to the right organisations, has never considered wearing a fur coat, and proudly owns a collection of T-shirts with spunky and clever pro-vegan phrases – but your closet is home to a row of shiny leather shoes or wool suits. You’re not alone. Be proud of the changes you have made up to this point. More important, it’s never too late to make yet another change.
In the 1990s, actress and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson started wearing sheepskin Uggs with her now iconic red swimsuit to keep warm on the set of Baywatch, catapulting the Australian-inspired American boot brand into prominence and an association with sexy, comfortable luxury. It wasn’t until years later, in 2007, that Anderson
realized that Uggs were made from real sheepskin: “I feel so guilty for that craze being started around Baywatch days – I used to wear them with my red swimsuit to keep warm – never realizing that they were SKIN!” she wrote in an online diary. Now Anderson has her own line of vegan clothing, selling eco-fur products and lingerie, and has traded her Uggs for Stella McCartney’s shoes, and vegan boots from Juicy Couture. Anderson unintentionally inspired a craze that caused boots made from sheepskin to become massively popular. But that didn’t stop her from swapping those boots for humane ones, nor from speaking up honestly about her regrets.
Not sure where to begin? PETA’s Cruelty-Free Shopping Guide includes a monthly e-newsletter, pocket guides for cruelty-free living, coupons and special offers from cruelty-free companies, and more information on supporting cruelty-free companies and charities. Learn more at: https://www.peta.org/living/personal-care-fashion/order-cruelty-free-shopping-guide/.