Photographer Mike Ruiz Is ‘Skinned’ for 70-Foot PETA Anti-Leather Ad Up During Pride Week

For Immediate Release:
June 22, 2021

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York

Naked and screaming, with his skin seeming to have been flayed from his body, celebrity photographer and recent Out cover star Mike Ruiz appears in a gigantic PETA ad that just went up near Penn Station in time for Pride Parade on June 27. The ad reminds people that sentient beings are killed and skinned for leather and urges them to shop vegan—something that’s easy to do, as today’s innovative, accessible faux-leather options are made of everything from pineapple leaves and apple peels to cork and coconuts.

The former America’s Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race judge, who has gone behind the camera for several past PETA campaigns, including ones featuring Alan Cumming and Laurie Metcalf, says, “The leather industry kills over a billion animals every year, pollutes the environment, and produces items that are as unexciting as they are cruel. My friends at PETA and I are encouraging people to wear their values and take pride in coming out of the closet in beautiful, fashion-forward vegan pieces.”

Most leather comes from developing countries with either nonexistent or unenforced animal welfare laws. At slaughterhouses, cows killed for leather may be skinned and dismembered while still conscious—after they’ve endured castration, branding, and tail-docking without painkillers. Leather can be made using cows, pigs, goats, or sheep; exotic animals such as alligators, ostriches, or kangaroos; and even dogs or cats. More than a billion of these animals are slaughtered for their skin every year.

Leather is just as much of a disaster for the environment as it is for animals. Its production requires the use of 130 chemicals—including cyanide—and releases massive amounts of the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. The World Bank has reported that cattle ranching is responsible for over 80% of deforestation in the Amazon since 1970.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, the human-supremacist view that cows and other animals are nothing more than commodities. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

The billboard is located near the intersection of Seventh Avenue and W. 33rd Street.

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.