'Be a Sweater They Said'

Fashion Industry Makes Animals Lie Down and Take It in New PETA Video

Video Take Action

Cynthia Nixon skewered toxic masculinity in the viral sensation “Be a Lady They Said.” That powerful video inspired us to tackle the fashion industry’s rampant systemic speciesism in “Be a Sweater They Said,” created for New York Fashion Week and featuring PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange.

It seems fitting that Nixon’s video—which calls out the objectification of women and the degrading standards that they’re told to aspire to—would be the catalyst for a video by PETA, a primarily female-led organization. And just as Nixon’s video reminds viewers that women don’t need to play by rules shaped by men in power, we’re urging everyone to cast off the fashion industry’s desire for consumers’ complicity and to acknowledge all animals’ right not to be tormented or killed for clothing (or for any other reason). Join us in rejecting speciesism.

Production company: New Moment, Skopje
Director: Srgian Yanikievik
Producer: Filip Dimitrov
Line producer: Mihajlo Cvetanov
Editor: Blagoja Torevski
Music: Novogradska
Creative director/Writer: Christian Carl 
Creative/Art director: Dushan Drakalski

Systemic speciesism—discrimination perpetuated by humans, based on species—is a dangerous mindset that allows the fashion world to get away with murder (literally). Those who bully and kill animals for clothing want you—the consumer—to be complicit in their oppression, but our new video exposes the fashion industry’s attempts to normalize extreme suffering and violence. By putting into words what the fashion industry is actually saying to the animals it destroys, PETA’s video reveals how manipulative and speciesist the industry’s justifications are for mangling, mutilating, clipping, ripping, stripping, and shipping sensitive animals for sweaters, handbags, jackets, and countless other cruelly obtained products that nobody needs. We want you to ask yourself: “Am I part of the problem?”

Be a Sweater They Said

We’ve heard people compare sheep shearing to getting a haircut—but can you imagine if chunks of your scalp were shorn off during a cut and color, all while your stylist tells you to “calm down” and “just let it happen”? How about being kicked or hit—has your hairdresser ever used you as a punching bag, each blow another reminder that “you don’t have rights”? No, probably not. However, sheep used for their wool endure all this bullying and more, simply because of who they are. Many in the fashion industry think that’s reason enough to shear sheep bloody, turn their stolen wool into sweaters, and eventually kill them.

The best way to help sheep like the ones above is not to buy wool. It’s easy. If a tag has “wool” listed on it, leave the item on the shelf and instead choose from one of the many animal-free materials available.

Be a Handbag They Said

In nature, crocodiles are free to enjoy their lake or river homes—some even live in saltwater and “ride” the ocean’s currents, like scaly drift divers. But on reptile farms around the world, many are forced to exist in small concrete enclosures (some narrower than the length of their bodies), sometimes for more than a year. After forfeiting their babies and their dignity, they’re slaughtered and robbed of their scales, too—some crocodiles forced to “give in to fashion” still bleed and move while being skinned, all for “luxury” leather bags, like those sold by Louis Vuitton and others in the fashion industry who are guilty of speciesism.

Be a Pair of Shoes They Said

Like humans, other animals want to be free and stay alive. But when workers tear cows away from their families, brand them with scalding-hot irons, and slit their necks, it’s a choice made by humans to bully and kill those of another species, because they’re members of another species. That’s the very definition of speciesism, which is at the core of all animal abuse.

If someone came at you with a sledgehammer—raring to bash your head in before cutting your throat—wouldn’t you want to “run away”? Of course you would. But at the slaughterhouse, cows killed for their skin and flesh can’t run away.

Consumers today have largely accepted that there’s nothing stylish about wearing someone else’s fur—which is stellar news for rabbits, minks, and foxes, but what about cows and other animals killed for their skin? That’s just as wrong. Have you expanded your circle of compassion to include all individuals? If so, join us in sending a powerful message not only to the leather industry but also to designers, retailers, and others who directly profit from these animals’ suffering.

Be a Jacket They Said

Does the tag on your feather-filled puffer jacket say “ethical”? Does it say “responsibly made”? Those labels are fluff all right—but not the good kind. Clothing companies like Canada Goose would have us all believe otherwise, but the truth is that there’s no such thing as ethical down, because all down comes from sensitive birds who didn’t want to be killed. Birds used by the down industry are inevitably sent to the slaughterhouse, where standard practice is to hang them upside down, drag them through an electrified bath to stun them, and then slit their throats.

Multiple investigations of the down industry have shaken consumers’ confidence in words like “responsible,” “ethical,” and “traceable.” Smart shoppers know that just because a company makes these claims does not mean that they are true. “Be a jacket,” many companies tell the geese restrained by workers and violently plucked while they’re still conscious. Instead, we’re telling humans to be a hero—give down a thumbs down, and urge Canada Goose to do the same.

Be Better, PETA Says

The fashion industry wants animals to “make us look good” and to “know [their] place.” We want humans to examine their own place: Are you complicit in animals’ suffering?

Can you do more to help dismantle all forms of oppression?

The fashion industry abuses its power just as it abuses animals—but it’s you, the consumer, who has the real power. Every purchase you make can make a difference for animals. By opting for sweaters, handbags, shoes, and jackets made with only vegan materials, you can prevent countless animals from losing their skin, fur, and feathers, which are then turned into products of extreme cruelty that no one needs.

By selling animal-derived materials, Urban Outfitters, Inc., brands (including Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People) are supporting speciesism, a human-centric worldview that’s at the core of all animal abuse. These brands aim to appeal to open-minded and progressive young people, but trying to sell them clothing made from dead animals is completely contrary to their values.

There is no reason—or excuse—to exploit and kill animals for clothing.

Urge Urban Outfitters brands to stop selling all animal-derived materials immediately.

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