Ralph Lauren to Face Pressure From PETA Over Exotic-Skins Sales at Annual Meeting

For Immediate Release:
August 3, 2022

Contact:
Robin Goist 202-483-7382

New York – At Ralph Lauren’s annual meeting tomorrow, PETA—which has purchased stock in the company—will confront the company’s leadership over when it will join competitors Chanel, Burberry, Stella McCartney, and others that have refused to sell skins taken from exotic animals. PETA will also point out the blatant falsity of a Ralph Lauren executive’s claim that the use of exotic skins may somehow support species’ survival by noting that conservation experts concur that hunting, poaching, and the illicit trade of skins threaten the populations of wild animals, including snakes and crocodiles.

“Behind every alligator-skin belt or ostrich-skin handbag is a sentient animal who endured a horrific death for corporate greed,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Ralph Lauren to get with the times and preserve wildlife, not pimp it out by selling exotic skins.”

PETA entities have documented that in the exotic-skins industry, alligators’ necks are hacked open and metal rods are shoved into their heads, ostriches’ feathers are yanked out while the birds are still alive, and snakes are pumped full of water to loosen their skin before it’s peeled off—often while they’re still conscious.

Nine out of 10 Gen Z consumers—who, together with millennials, boast $350 billion in spending power—say that companies should show an environmental and social consciousness in their business practices. Many companies are meeting the growing demand for sustainable, animal-friendly products by offering vegan leather options made from pineapples, mushrooms, apples, cactus, and other plant-based materials.

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

PETA’s shareholder question follows.

Hello. I have a question on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals U.S.

Ralph Lauren’s chief supply chain and sustainability officer, Halide Alagӧz, has falsely claimed that the use of exotic skins may support species survival, biodiversity, and ecosystem conservation—but nothing could be further from the truth.

Experts including Dr. Jane Goodall support bans on exotic skins because the sale of those skins drives global hunting, poaching, and the illicit trade in wild animals, including pythons and crocodiles. Our company was even associated with nearly one-third of some 6,000 illegal wildlife products seized by U.S. authorities, the majority of which were exotic skins.

From Southeast Asia and southern Africa to our own state of Texas, PETA entities have exposed the horrors of the exotic-skins trade. Last month, PETA Asia’s second investigation in Indonesia documented workers bashing pythons in the head with a steel hammer, suspending and nailing them to a wooden bar, jamming hoses down their throats, and pumping them full of water until they swelled to nearly double their size, then slitting them open with a razor blade. Experts report that the animals were likely conscious and able to feel pain.

Burberry, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Jil Sander, Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney, and so many other designers and brands have abandoned exotic skins. Ralph Lauren lags behind by continuing to support the torture and slaughter of wild animals.

My question is this: When will Ralph Lauren get in step with the retail industry and end the sale of exotic skins?

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind