For Immediate Release:
December 8, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
New York – After someone blew the whistle, telling PETA that Forever 21 seems to be mislabeling items made with real feathers while advertising them to kind customers as faux, the group’s legal counsel fired off a letter today to the retailer’s CEO, Winnie Park, calling on her to immediately remove any and all false product descriptions—or, better by far, remove cruelly produced feather items from its inventory.
PETA points out that misleading customers with deceptive labeling can violate both state and federal laws, including the Federal Trade Commission Act. The group’s undercover investigations show how birds suffer greatly when their body parts are taken for clothing and accessories, including through a violent live-plucking procedure, before they eventually face the slaughterhouse knife.
“PETA’s investigators have filmed birds screaming as their feathers are violently ripped from their bodies, all for trinkets and trims,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Forever 21 to do right by birds and its customers by stopping its false and misleading claims and no longer selling feather items.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Park follows.
December 8, 2023
Winnie Park, CEO
Dear Ms. Park:
As general counsel to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally—I’m writing to demand that your company immediately remove all false and deceptive product descriptions from its website. Specifically, PETA received a complaint that a customer had purchased a “Faux Feather Headband” from the Forever 21 website but that, upon receiving the item, they discovered that the feathers had hollow shafts—indicating that they had likely been torn from the bodies of real birds. Other products on your website have inconsistent and inaccurate descriptions, indicating that other animal-derived products may be falsely labeled as synthetic, including the following:
- Your “Faux Feather Cropped Cami” includes “100% feather” in its listing of materials.
- Conversely, your “Feather-Trim Cardigan Sweater” includes “feather” in the product title but “faux feather trim” in the materials description.
- You offer products with nearly identical trims that appear to be real ostrich feathers. However, one is labeled “faux fur” and another “faux feather.”
Undercover PETA video footage has documented a bloody nightmare for birds exploited for feathers. Panicked geese were herded into pens, where they trampled and crushed each other before being sent on their way to slaughter. Workers were seen cutting off ducks’ feet without making any attempt to stun the birds prior to dismemberment. At an ostrich slaughterhouse, birds were forced into stun boxes and their throats were slit in full view of their flockmates. Feathers can also come from birds who endure live plucking—a practice in which animals’ body parts are ripped off while they’re still alive. No matter where feathers come from, all birds are eventually killed for them.
Businesses must provide accurate information about their products, and misleading customers about the materials used can constitute a violation of state and federal laws, including the Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibits unfair methods of competition, including false and misleading advertising.
You must update your product descriptions to reflect reality and comply with your legal obligations. Or better yet, please eliminate any and all use of real bird feathers immediately.
Managing General Counsel