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Reptile Skin


Down & Feathers


The Byproduct Myth





Animal-derived fibers and textiles were central to the economy of the Ancient World (North Africa, the Mediterranean, Western Asia, and the Far East). In addition, fur-based textiles were the financial underpinning of exploration and nation building for the past three hundred years in New World countries (Canada, U.S., Australia, and New Zealand). As world population grew, demand exploded and led to larger herds and greater exploitation of animals. In developing international markets, competition drives the industry to cut costs and raise profits, which are always at the expense of the animal victims.


However, today there is no justification for the use of animal products for clothing or other textiles. Plant and chemical-based substitutes are cruelty-free, do not exploit animals, and their impact on the environment can be controlled. The first man-made, manufactured fiber (Rayon) was introduced in 1891, and since then, many synthetic alternatives have been developed and are commonplace in today's marketplace. The new generation of textiles brilliantly simulate silk, leather, fur, and suede, and are used in the clothing industry all over the world. The continuing modernization of manufacturing plants and processes, as well as international and governmental oversight, control the effects of chemical-based textiles to protect the safety of workers and the public. This is far easier to accomplish than reducing the damage caused by the leather, fur, and wool industries.


Available Alternatives to Animal-derived Textiles
Plant Fibers   Chemical Fibers
Banana   Acrylic
Corn   Dacron
Cotton   Nylon
Hemp   Orlon
Linen   Polyamide
Nettle   Polyester
Rayon   Polyethylene
Sisal   Polypropylene


In the 1951 British satire, The Man in the White Suit, the natural conflict between serious change in the fabric industry and preserving the status quo is illustrated when an inventor (Alec Guinness) produces a synthetic textile that is indestructible and never gets dirty. "What's to become of my bit of washing when there's no washing to do?" whines a washerwoman.


Unlike the characters in this film, we are able to meet the challenge of adopting new solutions so that we can make a significant difference for all animals.