Anna Wintour's Statement About 'Rethinking Our Values' Prompts PETA Appeal
For Immediate Release:
April 27, 2020
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
New York – PETA sent a letter this morning to Anna Wintour urging her to make good on her recent comments to Naomi Campbell—that after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, the fashion industry will need to “really think about the waste and amount of money and consumption and excess”—by banning fur and exotic skins from Vogue.
“It is certainly excessive and wasteful to confine a wild animal to a metal cage, beat her to death, and skin her for a fur garment,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA supports Anna Wintour’s pledge to reexamine her values, as they have caused cruelty to animals for years, and we suggest a departure from the old-style, cavepeople fashion previously rife in Vogue.”
PETA points out that in addition to being cruel to animals, fur farms, wildlife markets, and alligator farms also pose a public health risk. The novel coronavirus originated in a Chinese “wet market,” where live and dead animals are sold for their flesh and skin, and health authorities confirm that influenza viruses and coronaviruses are zoonotic (transmissible from other animals to humans).
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Wintour follows.
April 27, 2020
Dame Anna Wintour, D.B.E.
Dear Dame Anna,
We haven’t always seen eye to eye, but we agree with your recent comment that this pandemic represents an opportunity for the fashion industry to rethink its values. Our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide will applaud you if that rethinking involves—as it must—removing fur and exotic skins from the pages of Vogue.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a spotlight on filthy live-animal markets, where sick and stressed animals are crowded together, creating a perfect breeding ground for dangerous zoonotic diseases, which can jump from other species to humans. This is not only occurring in China, and conservation experts warn that the exotic-skins industry is exacerbating the risk of further pandemics.
When it comes to the public-health risk that they pose, live-animal markets are no different from the fetid tanks in which alligators and crocodiles are farmed for their skin or the filthy places where reptiles, including snakes and lizards, are butchered for theirs. In all of them, injurious contact between humans and the animals they exploit is common. Interaction with reptiles is already known to put humans at risk of various bacterial infections, and highly unhygienic conditions create a potentially dangerous breeding ground for many zoonotic pathogens, including West Nile virus, salmonella, vibrio, E. coli, trichinella, and others. Meanwhile, hunters, butchers, farmers, and fur handlers are among those who most commonly suffer from tularemia.
On fur farms, as in “wet markets,” minks, foxes, raccoon dogs, and other animals are confined to cramped adjacent or stacked wire cages that allow for cross-contamination through urine, excrement, pus, and blood, making it easy for contagious diseases to spread.
Continuing to promote fur and exotic-animal skins in the face of a global crisis stemming from the wildlife trade is inexcusable from the perspective of the risk that it poses to humans, not to mention the cruelty to animals. A transition to sustainable vegan materials is imperative for the health and welfare of us all.
Now is the moment to be on the right side of history. We hope your words mean that you will no longer feature or accept advertising for fur or exotic skins in Vogue.
Ingrid E. Newkirk