One of the most important school supplies on a snowy campus is a reliable winter jacket. On several college campuses in Canada and the United States, a Canada Goose parka is a popular choice worn by an increasingly large portion of students. In fact, the company's sales jumped 33 percent in 2016. This increase influenced Canada Goose to file for an IPO last week in order to trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.
The company is facing some backlash from animal rights organizations, primarily due to the fact that it uses real coyote fur to line the hoods of its jackets, and the jackets themselves are filled with down made from goose feathers.
Canada Goose defended its use of real fur and feathers in its Fur and Down Policy, which states that the jackets are “function-first” and that the company “understand[s] and respect[s] that some people think animal products should never be used in any consumer products, however [they] do not share that view.” Their policy also claims that down provides “approximately three times the warmth per ounce as synthetic insulators,” and that having fur in the hood “disrupts airflow and creates turbulent air which helps protect the face from frostbite.”
Canada Goose has come under fire from PETA and protestors not only for using real animal products, but also for questioning about whether the brand uses ethical means for obtaining fur and feathers. Animal rights organizations have claimed the company captures coyotes with leg-hold traps, which have no absolute prohibitions in Canada. Once an animal is caught, these traps prevent it from escaping, often causing the animal to suffer dehydration, blood loss or hypothermia.
Although the brand’s ethics have been called into question for years, neither ethical issues nor the $1,000 price tags seem to deter students from sporting their Canada Goose apparel to class in the winter months. Fresh U asked college students what they thought of the brand’s use of real fur and feathers and how its parkas remain popular on college campuses. Their responses are as follows:
Leanne Poltowicz, freshman at Buffalo State College:
“Canada Goose has a 'fur policy' and many of the claims that they make are false and have shed light on how cruel using real fur for fashion actually is. For example, they say that the old fashioned steel toothed leg hold traps that they use to kill the animals give little to no injuries. This claim has been proven false by the American Veterinary Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the World Veterinary Association, the National Animal Control Association, the Humane Society of the United States and the Sierra Club. The animals die trying to free themselves from this trap, biting their limbs until they either die from blood loss or hypothermia. Often times animals are so desperate to escape that they break their teeth trying to free themselves. The torture they inflict on these animals is absolutely disgusting. I for one, will never purchase a Canada Goose jacket. 'Little to no injuries' my butt.”
Sabrina Sooknanan, sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College:
“Canada Goose is known for its 'high-quality' jackets that customers purchase for hundreds of dollars. But is it really worth paying $600> for a brand that uses real coyote fur on the trim of its coats? Some coyotes are trapped with leg holds in order for companies to get their fur. And parent coyotes are known to chew their limbs off to get out of traps and return to their young. It's absolutely disgusting that a brand prides itself on this 'exclusive' coyote fur. As human beings we should be working to protect the biodiversity of the world, and all of the animals in it. Not to mention, I was born and raised in the Northeast and I've experienced the worse weather possible from blizzards to storms, and I can guarantee that there are many high-quality jacket brands out there that DO NOT use real animal fur. So take your pick.”
Emily Rachilewski, sophomore at California State University, Long Beach:
“I personally wouldn’t wear anything like that because I don’t really support the idea of using animal fur for fashion clothing purposes. I guess it’s simply unnecessary. Fake fur can make the same look, it’s all really about status and brand name or how expensive it is, which is important to some people, and that’s fine, but it shouldn’t come with the cost of an animal suffering or dying over it.”
Rachel Aslan, sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College:
“I get so disgusted by people when I see them put on something from Canada Goose. Saying that they like the style isn't an excuse because there are plenty of identical jackets with faux fur. I would never be able to buy something from a brand that is so publicly known for being monsters. One time me and my friends were talking about how we liked a guy's style and then saw him put on a Canada Goose jacket and then we all went, ‘Oh wait, never mind.’”
Katie Munster, sophomore at Syracuse University:
“I have seen Canada Goose a lot on campus, but I never knew about it before coming to school here. Even though I do consider how well-known a brand is when I make purchases, I still would not choose a brand such as Canada Goose because of their company’s policies about animals. I value animal rights and do not think slaughtering animals is acceptable, especially for a fashion statement. There are other ways to make warm, quality jackets without killing animals as if they are disposable.”
Shirin Bansal, sophomore at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona:
“The whole concept is disgusting and inhumane. Killing animals for our consumption is one thing but for fashion it’s absolutely unnecessary. Just because my skin is soft and moisturized doesn’t mean someone can go skin me and wear me around for their own comfort.”
Katherine Schibler, freshman at Alfred University:
“I understand that a lot of people don't care about the welfare of undomesticated animals like geese or coyote. Ideally, people care for all animals not just some, however I recognize that this is highly unlikely. Regardless of whether an animal is a suitable pet option or not, it deserves far more respect than any company who uses its parts will give it. There is no reason to be using real fur or feathers, we have the resources to make equally warm coats without utilizing an animal to do so. Animals don't need to be exploited and worn. Faux fur or no fur.”
Julia Olteanu, senior at Syracuse University:
"I'm Eastern European. Culturally we aren't bothered by fur coats as people are in North America. I scoured through Toronto looking for synthetic materials but none succeeded to keep me warm. I tried Canada Goose and it was the only one that managed to keep me warm. It's still in great condition four years later so I'm very satisfied with my purchase. I think Canada Goose coats are so popular because of the company's good marketing. It's like Apple and their iPhones, except the coat is actually useful."
The majority of these students agree that while companies like Canada Goose use real animal products for fashion and function, there are other alternatives available that are just as practical.
Lead Image Credit: Kate Beckman