After voicing consistent public objection to the fur-trapping and down-harvesting practices of Canada Goose — the decades-old company whose $900 hooded parkas reached peak popularity this year — animal-rights activist group PETA plans to take a different tack towards policy change: by becoming a Canada Goose company shareholder on Thursday, on the company’s first day of its initial public offering.
“We will be buying around $4,000 worth of shares so that we can attend and speak at the company’s annual meetings and submit shareholder resolutions asking for policy changes,” a PETA spokesperson has exclusively shared with Yahoo Style.
For some time now, PETA has spoken out against Canada Goose’s “ethical” fur and down claims — producing fact sheets taking the company’s stances to task, staging several protests outside of the company’s Toronto headquarters and New York City flagship store, issuing an action alert to contact CEO Dani Reiss, and producing a (very disturbing) video of a coyote stuck in a leg trap and being shot that has since gone viral.
Now the organization will be pressuring the company directly — as activist groups do on a fairly routine basis — by buying shares, specifically to gain the right to stand up and protest in front of executives. Shareholder activism is a tactic PETA has employed in the past as a way to make its case at companies including Hermès, Lululemon, Prada, LVMH, Revlon, Whole Foods, Restoration Hardware, Miami Seaquarium, McDonald’s, and GE.
“In the past,” PETA’s spokesperson notes, “we’ve obtained the stocks either through donations from members or the direct purchase of shares. As a shareholder in these companies, PETA has the right to ask questions and submit resolutions… using graphic language to inform other shareholders about the connection between their investments and the abuse of animals.”
While PETA’s success rate varies, he adds, “Resulting dialogs have brought about a range of benefits, from eliminating the worst factory-farm abuses to implementing new laboratory testing methods that don’t use animals, including the development of a strategy accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that saves tens of thousands of animals from government-mandated testing.” Additionally, at Tesla, PETA discussions brought about all-vegan-leather interior options on its Model X and Model S vehicles.
The coat manufacturer will be PETA’s next target because of how, the organization says, “Cruelty can be found in every stitch of Canada Goose jackets and other clothing items.” Coyotes trapped in the wild — solely for that strip of fur trim on the parka’s hoods — can suffer for days while facing blood loss, shock, dehydration, and frostbite, some of whom attempt to chew off their own limbs to escape. Those who survive are often strangled or bludgeoned to death when the trapper returns.
Canada Goose has responded to protestors through a statement on its website. “We understand and respect that some people think animal products should never be used in any consumer products, however we do not share that view,” it reads in part. The company also claims that it “can certify that our down only comes as a by-product from the poultry industry and has not come from live-plucked or force-fed birds.”
Regarding the use of fur trim, the website notes that it both has a purpose beyond decoration because it “disrupts airflow and creates turbulent air which helps protect the face from frostbite,” and also could be doing the world a favor by killing the animals. “In fact, in many regions of North America, coyotes are considered a pest as they attack livestock, endangered prey species, pets and sometimes even people,” it asserts.
Yahoo reached out to Canada Goose for further comment on its claims about animal uses and was referred to Alan Herscovici, former executive director of the Fur Council of Canada and now senior researcher/writer for TruthAboutFur.com, an information portal supported by the International Fur Federation. And as Herscovici often points out basic facts about PETA meant to sound absurd — such as how the organization is as “equally opposed to using leather or wool or even silk” as it is to coyote fur on parkas — it becomes clear that there is massive chasm between the overall philosophies of each side.
Herscovici stands firmly behind the idea of killing coyotes for the hoods, noting, “Thanks to more than 30 years of scientific research, many coyotes are now taken in quick-killing traps. Others are taken in live-holding traps, but these have been greatly improved to minimize injuries to the animals.” He adds, allegedly as a positive, that the “most common method of dispatching coyotes taken in live-holding traps is with a firearm (i.e., a quick-killing shot to the head. In fact, this is precisely the method shown in a video recently circulated by PETA.)”
Further, the fur advocate points out, “PETA is an animal-rights group. As explained on their own website, this means that PETA is completely opposed to any use of animals, even for food. It is important to understand this distinction when evaluating PETA’s criticisms of fur or any other animal product.”
It certainly is an important point, as PETA would surely agree, albeit for different reasons. It’s a point the organization is determined to make through a variety of approaches. And whether PETA has reached its ultimate goals or not through shareholder activism, notes the PETA spokesperson, “Our efforts have still helped animals by shedding light on the abuse that takes place behind these industries’ closed doors.”
But in an attempt to really drive the point home on Thursday, PETA will be joined by animal advocacy group DxE (Direct Action Everywhere) in a protest outside of both the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. Signs will read, “Trading Lives is Bad Business,” and “Indecent Public Offering.”
Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- Everything You Need to Know About the $900 Dividing New York City
- Is Faux Fur Becoming as Covetable as Real?
- Top Fashion School Cuts Ties With Fur Companies, Stressing Cruelty-Free Design