Do you need a warm coat and new boots for the cold season? Here are some suggestions free from animal by-products to replace your old winter gear.
In addition to killing millions of animals each year in Canada, the fur industry is not as environment-friendly as it would like us to think. In fact, it greatly contributes to soil and water pollution because various chemicals are necessary for tanning, washing, dyeing and finishing skins. Furthermore, mink and fox farms – the main animals exploited for their fur – waste drinking water and animal feed in addition to contributing to global warming.
Why no wool?
The wool industry is directly linked to the meat industry; sheep and lambs raised for wool are usually killed for human consumption after only a few months or years of life. Australia is one of the largest producers of wool. The mulesing technique, which consists of cutting off the tail and part of the skin on the sheep’s rump, is a common practice to minimize the risk of myiasis infection (flystrike). Ouch!
Why no leather?
Leather is a by-product from the meat industry. The majority of leather on the market comes from India, Bangladesh and China. Since there aren’t regulations obliging manufacturers to indicate the origin of the leather on labels, it is impossible to trace its country of origin or know which animal it comes from: cattle, goat, dog, cat or other. In addition, the leather industry is highly detrimental to the health of workers, who must dip their hands in toxic products and dyes during the treatment of the skins on a daily basis.
Why no down?
Down derives from birds mainly raised for meat or foie gras. This is yet another by-product of the meat industry. Two methods are used to pluck geese and ducks: (1) alive and extremely painful: tearing the feathers from the bodies of fully conscious birds; (2) dead: plucking once the birds are dead.
You can say no to this cruelty by purchasing products that don’t encourage the exploitation of animals!
To keep warm during the cold season, here are some companies that offer clothing and accessories without animal by-products (fur, leather, down or wool):
Outerwear and several synthetic coat options
Widely available – many choices of synthetic fibers
Environmentally conscious company – various programs aimed at reducing carbon footprint. Many choices of boots.
Lights of all – Staff favourite at the SPCA
Ethical and vegan Montreal-based company. Take advantage of a 15% discount on your purchases from this company, with the promotional code SPCA15
Matt & Nat
Animal-free shoes, boots and bags
Environmentally conscious company, committed to fair trade. Several choices of synthetic fibers available.
Wide selection of vegan shoes and boots. Located in NYC and LA.
Cruelty-free shoes and boots
Vegan coats, made in Canada
Clothing and outerwear, Fairtrade certified synthetic fibers, ecological and organic cotton.
Save the Duck – Staff favourite at the SPCA
Vegan coats, also available at Winners and Simons
The North Face
Several choices of synthetic fibers, available at a range of stores
Twik by Simons
Ethically sourced, several synthetic options available
Animal-free clothing, coats and accessories
Vegan coats, made in Canada
Two gold mines for beautiful and ethical discoveries: Etsy and local thrift stores!
These companies offer nice option for your canine companions:
Marie-Noël Gingras works in the Department of Animal Advocacy at the Montreal SPCA. In the past few years, she has collaborated on numerous projects related to animal rights and welfare (the Vert et Fruité and Vegan Portraits blogs, the Montreal Vegan Festival), as well as collaborated with the Défi végane 21 jours book, published in spring 2016 (Éditions Trécarré). You can follow her on Facebook.