Happy sheep on show

Shopping guide for winter fashion


From wool to down - have a heart for animals this winter 

As the colder weather draws in, naturally the demand for warm, winter clothing starts to rise. Many arm themselves with new warm jackets, scarves and jumpers against the cold, as well as these being among the most popular Christmas gifts. Those who not only have a heart for their loved ones but also for the animals and value animal-free purchases should pay attention to clothing made of down, wool, fur, artificial fur or leather.

What do I have to consider when buying wool and woollen clothing?

There are many ethical considerations to be taken when purchasing wool products. One of these is the process of 'mulesing'. The museling industry restrains lambs, at just a few weeks old, and cuts off the skin around the buttocks. This happens with the help of shears and usually without anaesthesia. This procedure is operated in Australia, where most of the world's produced merino wool comes from. The reason for the mulesing is producers try to prevent flies from attacking their sheep.

FOUR PAWS vehemently opposes the use of mulesing and is campaigning to ensure that textile companies in the future do without wool products in their range of wool comes from sheep. Also, when purchasing wool yarns for the self-knitted sweater for the grandkids, caution is required. Because wool yarns can come from Australian sheep who had to undergo the mulesing procedure. Mulesing-free wool, which can be traced throughout the supply chain, is already being offered by major wool suppliers.

Read more about our campaign #woolwithabutt:

What should I look for in down products?

Down in jackets, pillows, quilts and similar products are usually derived from geese and ducks from intensive livestock farming. In the worst case, the animals suffer from live plucking or stuffing from mass production. If the consumer wants to completely eliminate animal suffering, FOUR PAWS recommends resorting to down alternatives. Many now similarly relate in terms of warmth and quality with down. 

Those who do not want to be without down, should pay attention to appropriate standards such as Responsible Down Standard (RDS) or Global Traceable Down Standard (Global TDS) in order to exclude animal torture.

How do I differentiate between real fur and fake fur?

Fur pompom, fur trimming on hoods, collars, gloves or shoes: behind every little fur application can hide enormous animal suffering. Real fur is not always labeled, but often declared as faux fur. The assumption that animal-friendly manufactured real fur is also a misconception. Certifications such as 'ethically correct fur' or 'animal-friendly' European fur are names that fashion manufacturers have considered to promote the sale of these fur products.

FOUR PAWS is committed to a fur-free Europe and, as a representative of the 'Fur Free Retailer Program' in Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, South Africa and Australia involved in moving large fashion houses to a fur-free future.

And what about leather?

Leather is often perceived as a so-called by-product of meat production. But also the production of leather is associated with animal suffering. Information about where companies buy leather for shoes, belts or jackets, is usually very limited, if not at all. This emphasises the fact that the lack of transparency often means lack, or no animal welfare standards for the product.

FOUR PAWS is currently not aware of any company that transparently discloses the complete leather supply chain in terms of animal welfare aspects. Therefore, FOUR PAWS advises animal-friendly consumers to completely dispense with leather products.

Warm and cosy winter clothes can be animal-friendly!

It is best if you rely on natural vegetable fibers such as cotton to be sure that no animal had to suffer for the sweater or scarf. 
If it should be wool or down, always pay attention to the quality label and ask the manufacturer.