What to Know
- More than 20 people chanted outside the Canada Goose store in SoHo on Thursday to protest the retailer's "cruel" use of fur and feathers
- PETA has accused the coat retailer of using coyote fur and goose down from animals that were inhumanely killed on its products
- In a statement, Canada Goose denied the allegations and said it is "committed to the responsible use and ethical sourcing" of materials
A handful of topless protesters joined around two dozen fully-clothed ones on Thursday to denounce a Manhattan retailer’s "cruel" use of coyote fur and goose feathers.
Protesters carrying signs emblazoned with messages like “Fur Kills” and graphic images of dead geese formed a line in front of the Canada Goose store on Wooster Street in SoHo around noon.
Five of the protesters braved 40-degree temperatures to stand topless in front of the store, with “Canada Goose Kills” painted on their chests.
"Canada Goose has blood on their hands," protesters chanted. “Where the hell is your compassion?"
PETA and other animal rights groups have accused the Canada-based company, which sells jackets, parkas and other winter apparel, of using inhumanely-killed coyotes, geese and ducks to make its products.
PETA’s website claims the coyote fur lining some Canada Goose jackets comes from animals who were “trapped left to languish and then killed,” and that the goose down the company uses comes from “abused birds.”
While the rally was organized by PETA, a number of unaffiliated animal rights advocates attended as well.
Manhattan resident Margaret Lee, 65, said she’d been participating in animal rights protests for the past few years.
“I think that most people buying a Canada Goose coat are unaware of the cruelty behind it,” she said, noting the availability of coats made without animal byproducts. “It’s such an unnecessary thing — we’re not Eskimos, we’re here in New York City."
As protesters chanted, customers could be seen trying on coats inside the store. At one point during the protest, a man left the outpost carrying a black garment bag with the chain's logo on it.
“We have another body bag walking down the street,” protester Leonardo Anguiano, 36, who led chants for about an hour, shouted after the man had walked past.
The rally drew a number of spectators to the sidewalk across from the store. One of them, a 25-year-old woman who said she attends school in New York, stood watching the protest.
“I intended to buy a jacket there, but now I feel a lot of pressure [not] to come into the store,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.
Protesters had planned to set off red smoke bombs at some point during the event, but were ultimately unable to do so over safety concerns raised by a security guard and police at the scene.
In a statement provided to NBC 4 New York on Thursday, Canada Goose said it was “not surprising, but… unfortunate to see the lengths PETA will go to in spreading their false narrative about our company’s animal welfare practices.”
“Their allegations are without merit and we remain committed to the responsible use and ethical sourcing of all materials in our products,” the company said. “PETA has a long history of using sensational tactics to try to gain media attention, and this is just another example.”
After the rally wrapped up, Anguiano said he was at the store protesting when it opened approximately two years ago.
The Brooklyn resident said he hoped to dissuade people from buying the store’s merchandise.
“You can’t always come out on the street and use your voice, but you can vote with your dollar every single day,” he said.
“Nowadays, if you don’t know about the cruelty, it’s because you don’t want to know.”