Sweden mink fur farm

What is the fashion industry doing about animal cruelty?



The fashion industry is exploiting and slaughtering millions of wild animals every year. Events like London Fashion Week play a big part in the wider industry.

The problem with cruelty in fashion

The world of high fashion may seem glamorous, but the way animals are exploited for it, certainly is not. Wild animals are trapped, shot or confined in barren cages until their slaughter. All this suffering, just to transform them into a coat, bag or shoe.

In the fur industry, species like foxes and mink are bred into a life of confinement before they are killed. Crocodiles are slaughtered for the sake of their ‘exotic skins’. Wild birds like ostriches are exploited for their skins and feathers. These thinking, feeling, complex individual animals endure a short life of confinement and cruelty before a brutal death.

Sustainability in the fashion industry

Wild animals must be recognised by the fashion industry not only as thinking and feeling beings, but as important parts of their ecosystems. Wildlife exploitation is a significant and direct contributor to global biodiversity destruction, with the fashion industry playing a major role in this harm.

The exploitation of wild animals is also a major source of zoonotic diseases, which are transferred from animals to humans. To avoid future pandemics like Covid-19, we must adopt an approach that sees human health, planetary health and animal health as interlinked. Thankfully, sustainable and ethical alternatives to wild animal-derived materials already exist.


Crocodile skin being treated before being sold on for clothing

Crocodile skin being treated in Australia before being sent to Singapore where it will be made into clothing. Credit Line: Dean Sewell / World Animal Protection


What can be done to stop this cruelty?

We're asking runway event organisers, their sponsors and brands to read our new report and adopt our recommendation. This would mean banning the use of wild animal-derived materials and the clothing, shoes and accessories made from them. 

A kinder, more humane, environmentally responsible and safe fashion industry is not only possible, but exciting, creative and – in the face of changing community attitudes – inevitable. 


Support for Wildlife-free Fashion is building

Consumer behaviour is changing as people learn how animals are abused for fashion. Consumers are shifting towards brands which do not profit from animal cruelty. It’s time for the industry to align its practices with community expectations. 

A number of major fashion brands have already stopped using fur and exotic skins, including Mulberry, Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Westwood, Burberry, Selfridges and many others.

Some fashion shows have also banned their exhibition including Helsinki, Melbourne and Stockholm, and most recently Copenhagen. It is time one of the Big 4 fashion capitals showed leadership and help us secure a future in which wild animals remain in the wild, where they belong.


Make a difference. Join our community.

Sign up to our emails for the latest news on all our work, including updates on our animal-friendly fashion campaign.

Join us to end animal cruelty

Image credits - Header image - Jo-Anne McArthur (We Animals)

More about