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PETA’s Anti-Skins Campaign: Keeping Skeletons Out of the Closet

Thanks to a series of eye-catching campaigns against the use of animal skins, PETA has put a spotlight on the millions of animals who are killed for the clothing industry every year. Whether the clothes come from Chinese fur farms, Indian slaughterhouses, or the Australian outback, an immeasurable amount of suffering goes into every fur-trimmed jacket, leather belt, and wool sweater.

The “Fur Is Dead” campaign, one of PETA’s most popular, has exposed the cruelty of the fur industry and persuaded retailers such as J.Crew, Wet Seal, Forever 21, Eddie Bauer, and Ann Taylor to stop selling fur in their stores. It has also prompted top designers such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger to ban the use of fur in their designs.

Since the launch of our popular and highly publicized “Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” ad campaign, scores of celebrities have gone au naturel to save animals’ skins. Dominique Swain, Pamela Anderson, Kim Basinger, Christy Turlington, Imogen Bailey, Christina Applegate, and Holly Madison are just a few of the famous people who have bared all to save animals. Besides our celebrity ads, PETA and its international affiliates have also disrupted numerous fashion shows and held nude anti-fur demonstrations in such cities as Hong Kong, Montréal, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, and other cities around the world.

In addition to fighting the fur industry, we also work tirelessly to help animals who are suffering in the leather and wool trades. After our investigation of the Indian leather industry revealed horrific abuses that take place during the illegal transport of cows to slaughter, PETA persuaded 40 companies—including Adidas-Salomon, Gap Inc., Eddie Bauer, Liz Claiborne, Nike, and Reebok—to refuse to use Indian leather in their products.

In 2004, PETA launched a new anti-wool campaign to steer consumers to skin- and fleece-free looks that don’t kill. In a big victory, American retail giant Abercrombie & Fitch joined PETA’s wool campaign, setting a new standard for clothing companies by pledging not to use Australian wool in any of its garments until both mulesing and live exports stop. Other retail giants, including Hugo Boss and H&M, also followed suit.

Behind-the-Scenes Campaigning for Cruelty-Free Clothing

What some people might not realize is that PETA also works behind the scenes to help fashion designers, clothing retailers, and policymakers at myriad major corporations bring about positive changes for animals. Much of what PETA does—when we’re not shedding our clothes or using humorous gimmicks to provoke discussion of serious animal issues—seldom makes headlines.

Every campaign begins with documentation of conditions, often by sending investigators to work undercover to expose such things as the hideous treatment of animals in a chinchilla farm, the behind-the-scenes suffering of cows in the global leather industry, and the misery that sheep endure during live export. We then take our evidence to the perpetrators and beneficiaries of animal abuse in the fur, leather, and wool industries and ask for meaningful change that will eliminate or ease animals’ suffering. We also file formal complaints with the government agencies that oversee the facilities we investigate. If negotiating efforts with any company or individual are unsuccessful—and as we wait for the creaky wheels of government to turn—we launch campaigns that will continue for as long as it takes to effect change.

The cruelty will only end when consumers like you refuse to buy or wear fur, leather, and wool. With so many fashionable alternatives now available, there’s no excuse for wearing any animal skins.