WE CHAT WITH PETA
Recently, Ahimsa Collective became PETA Approved.
It was a no brainer for us. We know that our products, materials and processes we follow are a benefit to this world and it's living creatures.
And. It was a no brainer to collaborate and get the opportunity to meet and work with the incredible team at PETA.
Working closely with Emily Rice at PETA, we wanted to try and spread the PETA message a little more and support an organisation who many might not know.
Tell us something about PETA which most people might not know?
Well, for starters, original PETA started in the same year I was born, so it’s almost 25. Haha, jokes. We’re both 37 [says Rice].
One thing I think people don’t know is how wonderfully diverse and dedicated the team is across PETA and its international affiliates. From nanotechnology experts and molecular biologists, to social media experts and food and fashion experts, everyone brings their passion and expertise to the table, 24/7, to make the world a more equal place for animals.
PETA speaks up for animal rights in boardrooms, on runways, in commercial kitchens, in backyards where dogs are chained, in classrooms and laboratories.
No matter how we work, we work exclusively for animals.
What industry shifts are you starting to see within the fashion and retail space, if any?
We’ve seen so many shifts, most importantly in the way people view fashion and their role in keeping it ethical. After decades of campaigning by PETA and thoughtful consumers, the fur industry is collapsing, and this year alone huge designers like Donna Karen, Armani and Versace have all banned it from their collections.
We have also seen more and more vegan leather, wool and silk used by major labels, as well as a huge boom in 100% vegan designers, fashion labels, and cosmetic and beauty products.
What do you see as being the next step in making the fashion industry completely animal-cruelty free?
Consumers hold the keys to the cages that hold animals captive. When you refuse to buy something because it contains wool, for example, you take a step towards freeing sheep from being seen as mere objects. Designers and companies are slowly getting the message that as long as animals are part of their supply chain, their supply chain can never truly be ethical, but all industries are supply and demand, so we as consumers hold the power and we need to fight against the use of animals in fashion.
If we all demand alternatives, we will become the designers of truly slavery-free fashion supply chains.
Do you have a stance on silk and wool if the animal isn’t killed or harmed to produce these materials?
Yes, and it’s simply this - animals are not ours to use.
They’re not objects to be harvested for their wool or their silk. As sentient beings, they have wants, needs and personalities. The conversation about needing to find ‘humane’ products of animal origin is moot, because there already are humane alternatives to all animal products – vegan alternatives.
We must choose those, always, because the reality is, if you keep animals for their profitability, there always, always, comes a time when that profitability wanes, and then what? There are no “sheep retirement homes”. Why? Because they’re killed when they’re no longer profitable – or sent to miserable deaths aboard live export ships.
They may not (always) die during shearing, but killing someone doesn’t become ok because you’ve finally ‘used them up’. With wool, especially, it is important to remember that many, many investigations by PETA and its affiliates have uncovered unconscionable cruelty to sheep and lambs in shearing sheds in Australia, Scotland, England, the US and Argentina. Exposés show sheep being beaten, stood on, kicked, and left to die in pain. It’s heinous, and so unnecessary, because beautiful vegan options are abundant!
What are PETA’s thoughts on environmental impacts to produce materials such as PU and some fake-leathers?
Environmental protection is important, but it’s important to be really clear about the facts surrounding the eco-ratings of fashion materials. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition has a ranking system called the Higg Material Sustainability Index, and basically, the higher the score, the worse the material is for the environment. On this index PU leather actually ranks better than alpaca, wool, leather, and silk!
Add to this the huge environmental impact of raising animals for their skins and pelts, including their water and waste output, and vegan materials are always the more sustainable option. And of course synthetics are not the only option. A lot of “leather” today is being made from pineapple, mushroom, apples and all sorts of innovative and eco fabrics. You can find out more here.
If PETA were an animal, which animal would they be, and why?
Well, we are animals; human animals. Our president, Ingrid, is definitely like an elephant matriarch; empathetic, tenacious, clever and indefatigable. I think we all aspire to that.
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Scientifically, the egg, I suppose... But more importantly, how great are chickens?