Hugo Boss Goes Fur-Free

By on July 6, 2015 with 0 Comments

Today we’re thrilled to announce that Hugo Boss, one of the world’s leading luxury brands, is adopting a 100 percent fur-free policy that will spare thousands of animals from needless suffering. The Germany-based global fashion giant committed to the policy after working with The HSUS and The Fur Free Alliance, a coalition of 40 animal protection organizations in 28 countries working to end the fur trade. The policy will come into effect with its 2016 Fall/Winter collection.

Hugo Boss is also banning angora, down feathers from force-fed, live-plucked geese. And it will give preferential treatment to wool suppliers that stop mulesing their sheep (a procedure in which farmers pull strips of wool-bearing skin off sheep without painkillers), hoping to be 90 percent mulesing-free by 2020. These policies will surely lead to new, innovative alternatives to replace cruel and outdated industry practices.

Ironically, we make the announcement today after a Sunday New York Times story quotes fur industry proponents saying fur is back. While there’s still a roiling debate over the use of fur in society, and millions of animals are still ruthlessly killed for their pelts, this article repeats the standard industry hype as a means of trying to gain momentum and regain market share. The fur industry has long felt the effects of animal welfare activism, and it’s seen how our work has ushered in changes in so many sectors of the animal-use economy. With the culture waking up on animal protection issues, reflected in so many ways, the momentum is on the side of animal protection, and the fur industry remains deeply vulnerable to disruption.

Hugo Boss’ latest Sustainability Report is also filled with encouraging animal welfare policies and statements showing leadership in a luxury market that sorely needs it. Willing to take that challenge head on, Hugo Boss intends to “inspire the present generation and especially the next generation with a new kind of luxury,” one that promotes humane alternatives or what Hugo Boss calls “friendly fur,” made without animals.

In a Q&A with Bernd Keller, Hugo Boss’s brand and creative director of sportswear, the company makes it clear that fur has no place in a sustainable business strategy. According to Keller, “[Hugo Boss has] decided to adopt a different route and we are therefore giving our sustainable corporate strategy – in this case animal protection – precedence over the ‘fast’ and ‘simple’ route to success. We are delighted to embrace innovative challenges in relation to the planning and design of a collection.”

That attitude – of replacing cruelty with sustainable innovations – is the future of the fashion industry. Already, quality faux-fur alternatives are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. And the world’s leading fashion brands – from Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger to Stella McCartney and Ralph Lauren – increasingly want nothing to do with fur.

As innovations produce more fashionable, sustainable, and humane alternatives, fur and angora look ever more archaic and unnecessary. I’m reminded of my good friend Matthew Scully’s words in his book Dominion: “When you start with a necessary evil, and over time the necessity passes away, what’s left?”

The rest of the luxury fashion world should take notice as Hugo Boss receives deserving recognition for its innovation and leadership. Please join me by thanking Hugo Boss for its inspiring and forward-thinking policies.

The Propaganda Machine and `the Backfire Effect’

By on July 3, 2015 with 1 Comment
The Propaganda Machine and `the Backfire Effect’

In 2006, scholars Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler presented a paper to the American Political Science Association about the “backfire effect” – presenting evidence from a series of studies to show that “when your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your feelings get stronger.” In short, rather than change your views when presented with incontrovertible . . . 

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On the Road in Colorado, and a Reminder That Every Life Counts

By on July 1, 2015 with 3 Comments
On the Road in Colorado, and a Reminder That Every Life Counts

I’m at a conference in western Colorado, called Curiosity Retreats, which brings in luminaries on a wide array of subject areas to explore big ideas. Among a roster of extraordinary speakers, I was most excited to listen to a talk scheduled yesterday afternoon called “Wonders of the Ocean” by Dr. Sylvia Earle, a National Geographic . . . 

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Brazil Steps Forward on Animal Welfare

By on June 30, 2015 with 2 Comments
Brazil Steps Forward on Animal Welfare

Sao Paolo, the largest city in Brazil and in all of the western hemisphere, and a financial and cultural center of South America, has banned the sale of foie gras and the fur products from animals farmed solely for their fur, in yet another victory for animals in the world’s fifth largest country. The state . . . 

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Will Humanity Rise to the Defense of Elephants?

By on June 29, 2015 with 2 Comments
Will Humanity Rise to the Defense of Elephants?

Yesterday, The New York Times published a Sunday editorial celebrating the latest progress for chimpanzees – an announcement two weeks ago from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that all chimps, including the captives, will be listed as endangered. This announcement, which comes after The HSUS petitioned for it, will have game-changing implications for these great apes . . . 

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Let Your Workplace Go to the Dogs

By on June 26, 2015 with 4 Comments
Let Your Workplace Go to the Dogs

When I’m not on the road traveling for work, I get to work chauffeur-style – except I’m the driver, and the backseat space goes to Lily, my beagle mix of uncertain age but very certain place in my heart. When I look back from the rearview mirror, she’s typically gazing out the window, or is curled . . . 

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Animal Rescue Raids in West Virginia Demonstrate Reach of HSUS Programs

By on June 25, 2015 with 1 Comment
Animal Rescue Raids in West Virginia Demonstrate Reach of HSUS Programs

Today, our Animal Rescue Team was on the ground in Jefferson County, West Virginia, to help local law enforcement officials rescue 21 dogs from a suspected dogfighting ring. The dogs were tied up with heavy chains and many bore scars from past fights. It’s been a busy week for our Animal Rescue Team in the . . . 

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Celebrities as Partners in Our Quest to Shed Light on Animal Abuse Throughout the World

By on June 24, 2015 with 5 Comments
Celebrities as Partners in Our Quest to Shed Light on Animal Abuse Throughout the World

Animal issues are in the headlines more than ever, due to a growing society-wide awareness about the plight of animals. Millions of Americans are committed to doing something about the wide range of problems that plague animals, and one key to galvanizing action is shining a spotlight on cruelty and calling attention to it. In that . . . 

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Protecting Elephants a Matter of National Security

By on June 23, 2015 with 2 Comments
Protecting Elephants a Matter of National Security

Lawmakers across the country are dawdling as elephants die. In several states, special interests have killed bills this year to crack down on the ivory trade – most recently in Oregon and Hawaii – though California’s anti-ivory trading bill is looking strong and a comprehensive ballot initiative in Washington state – to prohibit trade in the . . . 

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Yulin Dog Meat Festival Provokes Global Fury

By on June 22, 2015 with 31 Comments
Yulin Dog Meat Festival Provokes Global Fury

For the last two mornings, Adam Parascandola, director of animal protection and crisis response for Humane Society International (HSI), has woken up at 3 a.m. in China to bear witness to one of the most horrific scenes you can imagine: the slaughter of thousands of dogs – and cats – for the Yulin dog meat . . . 

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