Animal inequality and favouritism is all too apparent when a French Bulldog gets treated like a precious fashion accessory but a South Devon Bull is seen as a scrumptious piece of beef

 

On Monday, fashion website Lyst caused uproar on Twitter after launching their ‘Canine Collection’, offering a range of dogs ‘from petite XS puppies to oversized companions, in a choice of six wearable colourways’. The site featured photos of 33 different dog breeds, each with a different price and a description explaining what kind of bag the dog will fit in and what style of outfit it complements best. Understandably, angry responses came in the thousands, criticising Lyst for perpetuating the idea that cute dogs are fashion accessories rather than intelligent animals that require love, care, and long-term commitment.

The next day, Lyst made another announcement: the entire thing had been a publicity stunt, aimed at drawing awareness to the issue of buying ‘designer dogs’ that are often abandoned when the owner is reluctant to give the commitment needed to keep a pet. Aside from the fact that the stunt wasted the precious time of animal charities such as the RSPCA who spent those 24 hours attempting to get in contact with Lyst, this PR failure drew attention to another issue of animal-related ethics: animal inequality.

While spreading the message — quite rightly — that dogs are sentient creatures that deserve love and proper care, Lyst also spreads the message that some animals matter less, by selling fur and leather on their website. Here are a few examples of the products you can buy on Lyst: a fox fur vest, a mink and rabbit fur bag charm, and a mink fur and calfskin leather iPhone case. The idea that some animals exist to be pets and others exist to be products is one of utter injustice; all animals are sentient, intelligent, emotionally complex, and innocent, and it is absurd to think that the suffering of one species is less real or important than that of another. Sadly, this is the mindset of the majority of the human population; it’s the reason the dairy and meat industries continue to thrive, and it’s the reason people can cry at Marley & Me while eating a cheeseburger.

Lyst: yes, abandonment hurts dogs — but the process of turning animals into clothes is also total agony (the process of producing fur includes anal electrocution, suffocation, and skinning while the animal is still alive). Opposing one form of animal abuse while literally funding another does not make you an ethical company.

For animals that are bred to become food, clothing, and other products, the only world that exists is one of pain, and the only humans they know are those who hurt, abuse, and exploit them. Think about this: if we gave all the love and compassion we have for dogs to all the other animals that deserve it too, the world would become a significantly less sad, and significantly more beautiful, place.