Gucci and its celebrity fans are receiving major criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Today, PETA’s Australian branch published a story discussing Gucci’s use of kangaroo fur for its popular fur-lined loafers, calling the trend “revolting.” What many customers might not realize, PETA says, is that “kangaroos are social, intelligent animals who suffer in the production of fur products such as these.”
Gucci’s use of kangaroo fur was widely discussed when the shoes debuted in 2015. In a statement to Quartz at the time, Gucci’s parent company, Kering, said “kangaroo harvest is one of the best examples of a well-managed harvest program, and thus can be classified under our guidelines as a sustainable fur.”
PETA points out that the shoes have many high-profile celebrity fans, including Kendall Jenner, Alexa Chung, Dakota Johnson and Sienna Miller. The shoes have also been a favorite on the streets of fashion weeks in New York, Milan, Paris and London. Actor Tom Hiddleston wore the shoes in a recent ad campaign for the brand.
“Using kangaroo fur to produce fashion footwear is exploitation, especially since populations are in decline,” says Dr. Daniel Ramp of the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology in Sydney. “The killing of these animals is inhumane. There is collateral damage, and kangaroo culling has a large social cost on the remaining families and their young. Kangaroos are not objects — they are highly intelligent social animals.”
Kangaroo leather is also sometimes used in soccer cleats because of its elasticity. PETA says that in 2014, Nike and Adidas both pledged to stop using kangaroo leather after seeing footage of baby kangaroos being separated from their mothers during a “harvest.”
“It’s time that Gucci and its customers had the same change of conscience,” PETA says. “As Australians, we need to send a clear message to the rest of the world that we value the animal on our coat of arms and condemn companies such as Gucci’s, which choose to kill majestic kangaroos for the sake of a fashion fad.”
Gucci does disclose on its website the use of kangaroo fur in its men’s and women’s loafers. It also says that the shoes cannot be shipped to California, which imposed a ban on the import of kangaroo products in 2015.
PETA is calling on people to write on Gucci’s Facebook and Instagram pages or send an email expressing their disapproval of Gucci’s use of kangaroo fur.