This year, we at Lady Freethinker have so much to be grateful for — including compassionate people like you who want, and are working toward, a kinder world for animals!

One easy way to make an immediate difference for animals this Thanksgiving season is by being conscientious consumers and not purchasing any products involving animal skins or body parts while doing your Black Friday shopping.

Animals like rabbits, coyotes, cows, sheep, and geese are subjected to intense cruelty and suffering for clothing made from their furs, skins, and feathers. These defenseless animals typically are kept in filthy, cramped conditions on fur farms and are abused their entire lives before being violently killed.

The good news is that we can choose to keep cruelty out of our closets and opt for kind, vegan clothing and accessories instead. It’s simple too, since popular stores like Target, H&M, Old Navy, and countless others keep shelves stocked with fashionable and trendy options free from animal-derived materials. 

Here’s a helpful list that explains cruel “materials” to avoid while you shop and alternatives to choose instead. 


Minks, rabbits, and raccoons raised for fur are confined to small, wire cages on fur farms that deprive them of their natural behaviors. They’re typically killed by the cruelest and cheapest methods possible, including gassing and electrocution. Other animals like coyotes are caught in the wild using traps that slice into their limbs and sometimes leave them to suffer for days until the trapper returns to kill them. It’s easy to buy jackets and coats that are fur-free, especially since countless stores — including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Macy’s — have banned it. Also be sure to look for the words “faux fur” on the tag, which is A-OK!


Sheep are gentle animals who love their families and even wag their tails like dogs when they are happy. But in the wool industry, shearers have been recorded kicking and punching the sensitive animals, along with cutting them open and stitching them up without pain relief in a gruesome practice known as mulesing. Shearers often are paid by volume – not time – which leads them to work quickly, most often at the expense of the live animals. While shopping for winter sweaters, scarves, and hats, look for materials like polyester fleece, cotton flannel, or even bamboo. These options are warm, durable, and best of all, don’t cause harm to sensitive sheep.


Intelligent geese and ducks are restrained while their feathers are torn from their sensitive skin in the down industry. This painful practice often results in bleeding and tearing of the skin, and can be repeated every five weeks, according to Four Paws. Eventually, the animals are sent to the slaughterhouse where they’re killed violently. It’s easy to not contribute to this cruelty, especially since popular brands like Arteryx, Save The Duck, and North Face all offer down-free jackets that are warm and stylish. 


Cows, alligators, kangaroos, and snakes are some of the animals exploited in the leather industry. Sensitive cows are routinely subjected to painful mutilations like castration and dehorning often without pain relief, and at the slaughterhouse they’re often skinned while they’re still conscious, according to Kindness Project. Look for options that say “vegan leather,” which is often made from polyurethane, or “all manmade materials.” Plant-based leather can also be made from cork, cactus, or even mushrooms

We Have the Power to Make Change

As long as animals are being exploited for clothing, they will continue to suffer. Luckily, humans have the power through our purchases to help stop the cruelty once and for all. Please choose cruelty-free clothing and accessories that don’t harm animals the next time you shop, and share this information with your friends and family.

You can also take another step to help animals killed for clothing by signing our petition urging the US to ban cruel mink fur farming!

SIGN: Ban Cruel Mink Fur Farming in the US For Good