While walking around GW's campus recently, I've seen a lot of people wearing Canada Goose jackets. In the past few years, these jackets have become all the rage, the latest fashion trend for college students across the country. They've been sported by several celebrities, like Amy Schumer and Rihanna.
Kate Upton modeled a Canada Goose jacket on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Drake teamed up with Canada Goose for his own clothing line. All of these celebrity endorsements have surely increased demand for these jackets, as young people look for stylish winter apparel.
But it makes me sad and disappointed to see so many GW students wearing these jackets, because they are the product of horrific animal cruelty, and the people who wear them are either unaware of this or don't care; but neither ignorance nor apathy can justify supporting a brand which causes so much suffering for animals.
The hoods on these jackets are lined with real fur from wild coyotes, who are trapped using incredibly inhumane methods. The steel leg hold traps used to collect fur for Canada Goose are banned in dozens of countries and have been outlawed by the EU, which in their proposal noted that the traps "close tightly upon one or more of the animal's limbs and, in doing so, often breaks bones and lacerates the skin."
When coyotes are caught in these traps, they die slowly and in immense pain and agony. Animals will sometimes try to chew off their own limbs in order to escape. Mother coyotes who are trapped are unable to care for their pups, who end up starving to death. Even when coyotes get out of the traps, they are often badly injured and end up dying from infection, shock, or gangrene.
These coyotes are sentient beings who, like humans, have the ability to experience both emotional and physical pain and they endure tremendous trauma when trapped. All of this horrible suffering cannot possibly be justified for the sake of making a fur coat.
Surely the pain and death of a coyote matters more than whatever small satisfaction a human being might gain from a Canada Goose jacket. The Canada Goose company claims to be committed to ethical sourcing, but this corporate rhetoric is deliberately misleading; there is nothing ethical about fur trapping. The company also uses goose down which comes from geese who are violently crammed into crates before having their throats slit.
In terms of pure utility of winter jackets, there are plenty of other winter coats that would keep someone warm and don't use real fur, so there are cruelty-free options available. But of course, the basic utility of keeping the wearer warm isn't the reason people buy Canada Goose. These jackets are insanely expensive, costing between $500 to $1500, and essentially function as a status symbol, just another way for privileged upper-middle-class kids to flaunt their wealth.
New Rule: If you spent $1000 on a jacket, you can't complain about how expensive GW is. The disparity between rich kids being able to afford these jackets and low-income kids not being able to afford them has led a UK high school to ban them.
So the growing popularity of Canada Goose is merely the latest result of our culture's disturbing materialism and fetishism for "luxury" items, a capitalist obsession with fashion that reflects a higher socioeconomic status and leaves kids of less privileged backgrounds feeling even more marginalized.
And in our greed for the latest fashion trend, consumers are willing to overlook animal cruelty. By buying Canada Goose, people are putting their own desire for a luxury jacket over the real suffering of innocent animals. So if you're reading this, don't be a jerk and ditch the Canada Goose.