It seems like just yesterday, it was summer and we were on the beach eating vegan ice cream and making sand castles! All of a sudden, we’re trying to stay warm in the crisp fall breeze and thinking of things to add to our holiday wish list. ⛄
Winter usually involves a lot of snuggling, vegan hot cocoa, and warm clothes (all of which we love). But sometimes, companies that make winter clothes think it’s OK to use animals for them.
Foxes, sheep, cows, geese, and other animals all like to stay warm during the winter, just like us—and they need their fur, wool, skin, and feathers to stay alive, too! So we should never wear anything made from an animal—even if it’s cold out.
Did you know that a lot of winter coats have down inside them? Down is the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird’s skin. In order for companies to get these feathers, geese and ducks are often plucked over and over again while they’re still alive. The feathers are torn out of their skin, which can really hurt the animals. We know it isn’t right to do this—the best way to keep them from being hurt is to choose vegan items instead. We don’t have to buy anything that has feathers inside—even winter coats or comforters for our beds.
Some coats and jackets also have fur trim. No matter how much or how little fur there is on a jacket, an animal was killed for it. Not buying from companies that hurt birds and coyotes for their down and fur is a great way to help animals. Buy from companies like Save the Duck and Noize that offer warm coats without harming any animals—or just read the labels on the winter coats at your local thrift store to make sure no animals were harmed to make them!
Shoes that protect our feet are super-important in the winter! You need to keep your toes warm during your walk to school or when you get to play in the snow, but many shoes aren’t vegan. Some boots are made of leather (which is often the skin of a cow). Brands like UGG use the skin of sheep to make their shoes. Cows and sheep are gentle, loving beings who value their lives—just like you and me. They don’t want to be killed and made into shoes—and they don’t need to be! You can opt for vegan boots this winter from companies like Fourever Funky, DAWGS, and Native Shoes. Stores like Target and Payless ShoeSource have vegan shoe options, too.
Make sure that your other winter gear isn’t made using animals, either. Hats, gloves, and scarves can sometimes be made of wool, which is hair taken from sheep. Often, sheep are sheared—which is the process used to cut the wool off them—too soon and are left with no protection from the cold. This is done by humans called “shearers,” who often work so fast that they cut and injure the animals. They work so quickly because the more sheep they shear and the more wool they collect, the more they get paid.
Some hats, gloves, and scarves might also have fur pom-poms on them—they might look cute, but there’s nothing cute about hurting animals. So make sure that if yours have pom-poms on them, they’re vegan.
It’s easy to find warm, comfy sweaters, hats, shoes, and other winter gear that animals weren’t hurt or killed for. Just check the tags on clothes before you buy them and look for words like “Tencel,” “viscose,” “cotton,” “man-made materials,” and “synthetic.”