Free People Takes a Bleating From PETA Over Dyeing Live Sheep Pink for Ads

For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2024

Moira Colley 202-483-7382


As Free People faces a backlash over its use of live sheep—including at least one who was dyed pink—in a marketing campaign that subjected the timid prey animals to chaos, fear, and confusion, PETA fired off an urgent letter to Urban Outfitters Inc., the brand’s parent company, calling on the retailer to show some respect for sheep by pulling the ads and ending its sale of wool.

“Exploiting vulnerable sheep to peddle the wool from others who are often beaten and cut to ribbons is like using a pig as the mascot for a barbecue restaurant,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Urban Outfitters Inc. to get out of the business of cruelty by nixing this campaign and switching entirely to sustainable vegan materials.”

PETA "Sheep" crashes NY Fashion Week to urge designers and everyone to go wool-free

PETA entities’ investigations have uncovered cruelty to sheep at over 100 wool- industry operations worldwide—even on self-proclaimed “responsible” farms—where shearers have been seen punching, stomping on, and kicking sheep. Shearers are often paid by volume—not by the hour—which incentivizes them to work recklessly. As a result, sheep are often left bloodied and in pain. Their gaping wounds are then crudely stitched up without painkillers. Once their wool becomes less desirable as they age, they’re shipped off for slaughter.

To date, over 165,000 PETA supporters have called on Urban Outfitters Inc. to stop selling products that condemn animals to a lifetime of suffering—including alpaca wool, cashmere, down, leather, and mohair—and stick to luxurious eco- and animal-friendly vegan textiles, including organic cotton, linen, and Tencel.

PETA notes that Free People has responded to online criticism of the campaign by attempting to hide behind a “No Animals Were Harmed” certification—which is notoriously meaningless, as numerous productions have received this stamp of approval even when animals have been injured or killed. 

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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