January 15, 2020

Versace renounces use of kangaroo leather as millions of marsupials die in Australian bush fires
The Italian fashion house Versace will no longer use kangaroo leather in its products, as millions of the animals are burnt to death by Australia’s sweeping bush fires. The decision was taken some time ago, affecting the fashion brand’s 2019 collection, but only came to light this week. It was not directly related to the devastating impact that Australia’s bush fires have had on kangaroos, koalas and other animals. The move by Versace follows a campaign launched by Italian animal rights campaigns in the autumn, in which they protested against the number of kangaroos which are culled each year in the wild. The campaign groups had called for Italian companies to boycott kangaroo products. “We welcome Versace’s announcement,” said Simone Pavesi from LAV, an Italian animal welfare organisation. A kangaroo caught up in Australia's bush fires Credit: New York Times “It’s an important gesture, no more so than now when the bush fires devastating Australia are having such dramatic consequences on kangaroo populations. “We hope it will help save an animal that is the symbol of Australia as it faces an unprecedented threat.” A Versace spokesman told The Telegraph: “We can confirm that there will be a complete stop to the use of kangaroo leather.” Australian scientists have estimated that up to a billion mammals, birds and reptiles may have been killed by the bush fires. Chris Dickman, a professor of ecology at Sydney University of Sydney, had previously estimated that 480 million creatures had perished but recently doubled that figure. The figure includes animals killed directly by the fires as well as those which have died of dehydration, starvation or habitat loss. Two years ago, Versace announced that it was renouncing the use of real fur in its clothes and accessories. Donatella Versace, the company’s creative director, said: “I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.” Real fur has been eschewed by an array of fashion houses in recent years, including Hugo Boss, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Armani.
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