Woman with sheep

New study: Pandemic leads to increased demand for compassion in fashion

FOUR PAWS reveals consumers are turning their back on animal derived textiles 


3 August, 2021 – Millions of animals are killed or suffer every year for fashion. Yet, new research commissioned by global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, has revealed how two thirds of UK consumers are demanding fashion brands take action to guarantee more compassion in fashion. A You Gov poll found six in ten UK adults are aware of the cruelty involved in the fashion industry and most associate it with fur (79%), exotic leather (75%), down feathers (44%) and mulesed wool (23%). Now the global NGO is urging people to Wear it Kind for all animals and adopt animal-friendly textiles in a bid to finally show that there is no place for animal-cruelty in fashion.

The concept to Wear it Kind was initially launched by FOUR PAWS’ Australian office in response to the numerous cruel practices animals continue to face within textiles supply chains. One of these, the cruel practice of Mulesing Australian lambs, a painful mutilation in which the skin around the buttocks of young lambs is sliced off to prevent a condition called flystrike, despite a humane alternative being available. FOUR PAWS successes so far have been global with brands like H&M, Marks & Spencer, Burberry, Next and John Lewis already committed to remove mulesed wool from their supply chains. FOUR PAWS has also had tremendous success moving brands to end their use of down from live-plucked geese, and helps to power the Fur Free Retailer program in which over 1,500 brands have pledged to never use fur. 

Brands acting in this way, is likely to resonate well with consumers too as over a third of UK citizens (33%) claimed they would choose one fashion brand over another if they prioritised animal welfare. “For far too long animals have been the unheard victims in the fashion industry. But the tide is now turning and not only are consumers taking a stand, but high-street and fashion houses alike are responding.” 

Says Emily Wilson, FOUR PAWS UK Head of Campaigns.

18 months of reflection, starting in our wardrobes

Many of us have had little desire, or need, to veer away from the loungewear items that have rooted themselves in our wardrobes over the last year and a half, but now that the world is reopening how much do we know or understand about the processes involved in making our favourite jumper, hat or handbag? Upon learning about what mulesing is, 80% of respondents (with a higher weighting of women) agree that retailers should phase out wool derived from this process. Additionally, eight out of ten (84%) were very concerned about the welfare of kangaroos after learning about the killing of the iconic Australian animal, particularly with the nation's biodiversity being so tragically impacts by the huge bush fires of 2020. But slowly the tides of change are coming. Wilson continues: “COVID-19 highlighted how closely aligned our relationship with animals is, and one in three adults actually changed their fashion purchasing habits as a result. Over a third seek out higher quality items that are also sustainable and have higher animal welfare credentials, and a quarter have opted to avoid animal-based fashion products all together.”

Show your support

Animal-friendly fashion is fast becoming a movement, and we’re encouraging shoppers and brands to get on board! Shoppers can show their support by committing to Wear it Kind - reducing, refining and replacing animal-based fashion products, with higher welfare or animal-free and sustainable fashion alternatives. As Wilson concludes “More people need to look at their wardrobes and start showing more compassion in fashion. If we can all start checking labels, ensuring we know where our products have come from and avoid inherently cruel products like fur and exotic leather, wool from mulesed sheep, and down from live plucked geese, we can all help protect millions of animals from suffering worldwide.” 

Furthermore, as part of the Fur Free Britain coalition FOUR PAWS has helped deliver 1 million signatures to the Government calling on it end the sale of fur and banish the support for this cruel trade from UK shores. Having banned fur farming in 2000, the final step in becoming #FurFreeBritain is long overdue but is now hopefully within our grasp.  Find out how you can help banish fur once and for good from the UK here.

For brands looking to respond the calls of UK’s consumers seeking high welfare or animal-free fashion, download the tools available on the Wear it Kind Industry page, and find advice on how to truly take responsibility for the animals used in your supply chains.

Global report

Global report

See the full results here



Together, we can drive an animal-friendly fashion future

Take the pledge

Hannah Baker

Head of Communications UK 


020 7922 7954 / 07966 032 235

7 - 14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR


Share now!