In a shift in strategy, PETA – along with Stella McCartney – is urging fashionistas to shed not only fur but also leather this Fashion Week with a viral video exposé of the skins trade hosted by McCartney.
“As a designer, I like to work with fabrics that don’t bleed; that’s why I avoid all animal skins,” says McCartney in the video. “Please join me in exploring the huge variety of fashionable shoes, belts, purses, and wallets that aren’t the product of a cow’s violent death.”
As reported in the New York Times, the campaign, set to debut in Manhattan cabs, has had a bumpy start. Because style editors and buyers from around the world scurry between runway shows in taxis during Fashion Week, PETA planned to run a video blitz on taxi video screens—but VeriFone Media, which places the cab ads, refused to allow PETA to buy airtime, saying that the screens run consumer promotions, not cautions. Undeterred, PETA will launch the video on fashion blogs, via tweets from celebrities, and on the Facebook pages of PETA’s million-plus online activists.
McCartney’s video explains that cows killed for their skin are castrated, branded, and dehorned and have their tails cut, all without painkillers. In slaughterhouses, the animals’ throats are cut, and many cows are skinned and dismembered while they are still alive. And the toxic chemicals used to keep the animals’ skin from rotting harm workers’ health and can pollute nearby water supplies and soil, leading to increased rates of cancer among nearby residents.