‘Chilling cruelty, unspeakable suffering and corporate denial’: the TRUE cost of the season’s must have fur-trimmed Canada Goose coat
By Laura Collins 23 January 2014
They have made America their new frontier, forging into the US clothing market to become one of the season’s most recognisable brands with sales of Canada Goose outerwear expected to top $30million this year alone.
In a high profile year in the States, Kate Upton has appeared on the front of Sports Illustrated in one of their fur trimmed, down jackets and nothing much else.
It isn’t the only firm to market such coats, yet Canada Goose has rapidly established itself as the label of choice for the well-known and the well-heeled braving the frigid weather blown in on the polar vortex.
But today MailOnline can reveal that allegations of chilling cruelty and unspeakable animal suffering have been repeatedly levelled at this family business turned multimillion dollar concern.
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The real cost of a $600 coat: Campaigners claim the coyotes that are trapped and skinned for their fur to trim the hoods of Canada Goose coats can be in pain for days. It is unclear whether these images are from Canada Goose trappers but the firm does use the same leg holds
Exhausted, alone and all out of fight, this Coyote awaits its inevitable fate having been caught in a trap by its right hind leg
According to animal rights activists, behind every fur trimmed hood and down stuffed coat is a brutal reality of Coyotes trapped and left to suffer in the wilderness.
Many of today’s ethically aware consumers would never dream of buying a full length fur. But in an odd quirk of the current trend for this style of garment those same shoppers pull on a coyote trimmed coat without a moment’s concern for the origins of that little flurry of fur.
Lindsay Rajt, Director of Campaigns for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said: ‘Canada Goose uses exclusively Coyote fur on the trim of their coats and those animals are trapped in a way that is just inherently cruel.’
As a company founded and grown in Canada, Canada Goose makes much of their support of North Canadian communities in which, their publicity states, Coyote trapping has been ‘a way of life for hundreds of years.’
According to a spokesperson for the firm: ‘The trapping of fur-bearing animals is strictly regulated by the provincial and territorial wildlife departments in Canada.
‘We purchase coyote furs from certified Canadian trappers, never from fur farms or endangered animals.
Kate Upton going ‘Polar Bare’ on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2013 Swimsuit edition, wearing a smile, a white Canada Goose parka and not much else
But PETA has dismissed the standards as ‘window dressing.’
Mr Rajt said: ‘The company’s reference to AIHTS standards is meaningless and a way of placating and silencing people with valid concerns.
‘Leg hold traps are still legal in Canada. Mother animals will chew off their limbs in order to get back to their young. The trapped animal might be there for days before the trapper comes and finds them, they are frightened and starving and in pain during that time. And then they’re bludgeoned or strangled to death or shot.’
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Coyotes trapped for their fur
A trapped Coyote howls in pain, its right forepaw held tight in the jaws of a leg hold trap – legal under the AIHTS but cruel according to PETA
Trapped Coyotes can struggle to get free for days until the hunter returns to check his traps. Mother animals separated from their young attempt to chew off their own limbs in a bid for freedom
Ms Rajt revealed that PETA is this week appealing to Canada Goose to abandon their use of fur in favour of synthetic alternatives and to dump their use of real down stuffing.
She said: ‘PETA is reaching out to Canada Goose to urge the company to switch to innovative, synthetic fur like their top competitor Helly Hansen, which has been fur-free for many years.
‘Additionally, we are asking that Canada Goose dump down and opt for revolutionary synthetic technology like the one recently developed by The North Face – Thermoball, which mimics down but offers superior versality.’
Ms Rajt claimed: ‘We have been trying to meet with this company, we’ve been trying to engage with them since 2006.
‘The CEO originally agreed to meet with us in 2008 to discuss trapping policies and methods but just never confirmed that meeting and then failed to make himself available to any of our follow ups.
‘It is a challenging company for us to work with.’
Meg Ryan pictured last month in New York’s West Village. Canada Goose’s concerted effort to win the US market has seen it become a celebrity brand of choice
Andrew Garfield and girlfriend Emma Stone in their Canada Goose parkas on a shopping trip in New York
Actress Clare Danes wearing her Canada Goose parka with its distinctive Coyote trim while braving the New York chill
But according to a spokesperson for the company: ‘We’ve corresponded with PETA on numerous occasions and it quickly became evident that they were not interested in a constructive conversation.’
Canada Goose was founded in 1957 and has enjoyed remarkable success and rapid growth across the past decade when it started marketing it’s ‘truly Canadian’ ethos to Europe.
’We’ve been trying to engage with this company since 2006…It is a challenging company for us to work with,’
PETA Director of Campaigns, Lindsay Rajt, on Canada Goose’s refusal to meet
Today the company employs more than 1000 people and sells its products in more than 50 countries across the world.
It continues to manufacture its coats in Toronto and Winnipeg but recently opened its first US Headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Last year it became the official sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival and US Equity firm, Bain, recently bought a majority stake in the hitherto entirely Canadian enterprise.
Canada Goose defend their practices
Real fur real suffering: Canada Goose President Dani Reese flanked by his company’s distinctive outerwear. He says the company uses Coyote fur ‘because it works’
The extreme weather outerwear is manufactured in Toronto and Winnipeg though US Equity firm, Bain, now owns a majority stakehold
Founded in 1957 the family company Canada Goose now employs more than 1000 people and sells its garments in more than 50 countries
Canada Goose President Danni Reiss is very clear in his assessment of the importance of the US market to his brand. He said, ‘The States is a market with one of the greatest potentials in the world. The US is growing faster than the overall company.’
Speaking in a corporate video Mr Reiss explained: ‘We use Coyote fur for a number of reasons. Number one, Coyote fur works – it’s functional, it provides warmth around the face in a way no synthetic fabric can. It does that in the coldest places on earth and it is important to realise that sometimes urban centres and cities can feel like the coldest places on earth.’
Coyote fur doesn’t freeze, doesn’t hold moisture, retains heat and is biodegradable.
Ms Rajt dismissed the necessity of real fur saying: ‘They actually do have some faux fur trim products and there’s a market for that. There’s no reason why they couldn’t switch completely.’
A spokesperson for Canada Goose said: ‘We understand PETA’s concerns and we respect the right of people to choose not to wear fur, however, we know PETA does not respect our ethical, responsible use of fur so further conversation won’t be productive.’
But Ms Rajt insisted: ‘I just don’t believe that half the people wearing these coats understand what’s really involved in the making of them. And I just don’t believe that they would make that same choice if it was an informed one.
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