Ralph Lauren to Face PETA Pressure at Annual Meeting

Shareholder Question Calls for End to Sales of Alpaca Wool and Exotic Skins

For Immediate Release:
July 29, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York

“There is no way to source exotic skins or alpaca fleece without inflicting extreme cruelty, so when will Ralph Lauren stop selling them?” That’s the message that a representative of PETA, which recently purchased stock in the company, will take to its virtual annual meeting on Thursday.

PETA points out that workers in the exotic-skins industry hack open alligators’ and crocodiles’ necks and shove metal rods down their spines, often while they’re still conscious; nail snakes to trees and cut open their bodies from one end to the other; and keep ostriches in barren dirt feedlots, force them into stun boxes, and slit their throats. The group’s exposé of the alpaca industry revealed that workers hit, kicked, tied down, and mutilated pregnant alpacas in Peru, the world’s top alpaca producer. The reckless shearing process left them crying out and bleeding from deep wounds that were crudely stitched back up.

“If Ralph Lauren truly wants to be a socially responsible company, it can start by taking alpaca wool and exotic skins off its racks,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on it to stop selling sweaters, shoes, and accessories that sensitive alligators, crocodiles, lizards, ostriches, snakes, and alpacas suffered and died for.”

The Higg Materials Sustainability Index ranks alpaca fleece as the second most environmentally damaging textile, and conservation experts have warned that the exotic-skins industry increases the risk of future epidemics, as the wild animals it uses are confined and slaughtered in filthy conditions—just as animals in “wet markets” are—creating a breeding ground for pathogens like the novel coronavirus.

Ralph Lauren previously banned fur, angora wool, and mohair following PETA exposés. Brands such as Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, Jil Sander, Vivienne Westwood, and Brooks Brothers have all banned exotic skins, and UNIQLO, ESPRIT, and Marks & Spencer are among the brands that have banned alpaca wool.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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