PETA to Met Gala Co-Chairs: Feathers as Cruel as Fur

For Immediate Release:
April 11, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York

Ahead of the 2023 Met Gala on May 1, PETA sent a letter today to co-chairs of this year’s event—Anna Wintour, longtime furriers’ darling; fur foe Dua Lipa; Roger Federer, who created a vegan sneaker; Penélope Cruz, who appeared in a beautiful PETA anti-fur ad in 2018; and vegan actor Michaela Coel—urging them to instruct designers to steer clear of fur, exotic skins, and especially feathers, as they’ve been prominently featured recently on runways and red carpets. PETA’s investigation into the feather industry, including ostrich farming and killing, has caused many major retailers to shy away from it.

“It’s past time for designers to get more creative—it’s what fashion is supposed to be all about—to be more innovative, and to stop relying on birds and other animals who suffer terribly for their designs,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is hopeful that the Met Gala sponsors will show compassion to all animals by asking designers to stick to fabulous featherless materials, faux fur, and simulated skins.”

This year’s Met Gala is a tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, and although he was criticized for years for using animals, his brand banned fur in 2019 and exotic skins, like those of lizards and snakes, in 2020.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to the Met Gala co-chairs follows.

April 11, 2023

Dear Ms. Wintour, Ms. Lipa, Ms. Cruz, Ms. Coel, and Mr. Federer,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to request that you advise people not to wear fur, feathers, or exotic-animal skins while attending The Costume Institute Benefit this year. Obviously, the high-profile people in the spotlight at this wonderful event wield enormous influence on the viewing public, so we’re asking that you implement a policy to permit designers only to use vegan feathers, faux fur, and simulated skins, for the good of both animals and the environment.

We’re particularly concerned about feathers. Video footage from an investigation into the largest ostrich-slaughter companies in the world shows that workers forcibly restrain curious young ostriches, electrically stun them, and then cut their throats. Moments later, the feathers are torn from the birds’ still-warm bodies before they’re skinned and dismembered. Other birds fare no better—pheasants, turkeys, peacocks, ducks, and other birds all endure miserable lives on factory farms and painful deaths, simply so that their feathers can be used for fashion. The feathers of some are torn out while they’re still conscious. The influence of just one celebrity who wears feathers on the famed Met Gala red carpet could lead to immense suffering for thousands of birds—and, of course, in the cases of fur and exotic skins, enormous cruelty to other animals is involved in the procurement. In addition to causing suffering and death, the production of animal-derived materials requires toxic chemicals and contributes to climate change, land devastation, and water contamination on a far, far greater scale than the production of vegan materials.

We’re aware that the evening is intended to honor Karl Lagerfeld. Although he previously used animals in his designs, his brand banned fur in 2019 and, the following year, banned exotic skins. We hope you will honor this progress in your directives to designers who are dressing their clients for this event. We would be very grateful, and you would be doing something that helps both animals and the environment.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid Newkirk

PETA President

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