The news that InStyle magazine has joined the shifting tide away from fur signals a remarkable change in the fashion industry’s attitude. Laura Brown, InStyle’s editor-in-chief who did a panel discussion on fur-free fashion with The HSUS’s Humane Generation in February, writes: “I want to be clear that InStyle does not photograph fur nor do we accept fur advertising. How thrilling that the fashion industry is beginning to embrace fur-free alternatives. Here’s to the dear chinchilla living a long and lovely life.”
This is a powerful statement from one of the world’s most successful fashion media brands, with a readership of 8.7 million and an online viewership of 10 million. And it’s only the latest in a string of such announcements from fashion leaders. Since 2017, dozens of major brands and retailers, including Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Donna Karan, Versace, Burlington Stores, and VF Corporation—owner of The North Face and Timberland—have adopted 100 percent fur-free policies.
Today, we also honor Gucci, which announced its fur-free policy in 2017, as one of the recipients of our annual Henry Spira Humane Corporate Progress Awards. These awards go each year to forward-thinking companies, business associations, and entrepreneurs whose efforts and actions have brought relief from cruelty and suffering to millions, if not billions, of animals worldwide.
The successful pursuit of corporate reform to make a difference for animals is a fundamental part of our mission at The HSUS. Over the years we’ve worked successfully with hundreds of major corporations with corporate social responsibility commitments to animal welfare, to encourage actions that help or spare animals from pain and suffering.
There are few advocates who have done more to pioneer the approach of engaging corporate partners constructively than Henry Spira (1927-1998), who forged a coalition that spurred and catalyzed the shift toward non-animal methods in research and testing, and successfully persuaded key fast-food corporations to take more dedicated steps to supervise their suppliers. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Spira’s approach to campaigns set him apart from the rest of the field.
That’s why it’s a privilege for us to join philosopher Peter Singer (author of a remarkable 1999 biography of Spira, “Ethics into Action”) and others to recognize some of the most important achievers in the arena of corporate policy reform with an award that honors Spira’s legacy. Our award recipients for 2017, in addition to Gucci, include:
- Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, for going above and beyond in its commitment to cruelty-free and other ethical campaigns. Lush has been a founding supporter of the global #BeCrueltyFree campaign, provided more than $6 million in non-profit funding via its Charity Pot initiative, and launched the Lush Prize to support progress toward ending animal testing.
- Nestlé USA, for announcing a comprehensive animal welfare policy concerning the treatment of chickens in its supply chain.
- Unilever, for announcing the completion of its conversion to 100 percent cage-free eggs three years ahead of schedule, and for announcing a major policy to improve the treatment of chickens in its meat supply chain.
- TGI Fridays, for becoming the largest U.S. restaurant chain to offer a plant-based-meat dish, the “Beyond Burger,” at all locations nationwide.
- Pet Food Express, for going above and beyond in its commitment to hosting adoption events that showcase homeless pets instead of selling commercially raised puppies, for creating the Pet Fair to educate customers about the benefits of adoption in order to avoid the cruel puppy mill industry, for supporting the My Mutt Program in saving stray lives by fundraising for local shelters and rescues, and for supporting a bill that made California the first state to ban the sale of puppies in pet stores unless they come from shelters or rescues.
Congratulations to these deserving award recipients, and to InStyle magazine, for joining the trend toward cruelty-free fashion. Let’s keep working to make more companies and corporate actors winners in the race to make this world a better one for animals.