Animals Asia urges Gucci to stop using live tigers in its campaigns

18 February 2022

Fashion powerhouse Gucci has come under fire for using live tigers in its latest campaign, a move that has shocked animal welfare organisations, conservationists and consumers alike.

The campaign, branded #GucciTiger, to celebrate the start of the Chinese Year of the Tiger, portrayed live tigers sitting in and walking around a luxury residence alongside models in Gucci attire.

Gucci responded to the initial outcry by stating that the animals weren’t harmed during the photoshoot, a comment that merely highlights their grave misunderstanding of the consequences of their actions.

In response, Animals Asia and 49 other animal welfare organisations came together to write an open letter to Gucci to inform them of the dangerous repercussions of their actions, and how their use of endangered animals is actively contributing to their decline.

“Using live animals for entertainment does two things: firstly, it gives the impression that wild, unpredictable and dangerous animals can be domesticated. This fuels the desire to own ‘exotic pets’ and consequently, more and more wild animals - often babies -  are violently snatched from their mothers, homes, and natural habitats.” Dave Neale, Animals Asia’s Captive Animal Welfare Director explains.

“They’re then packed tightly into hidden spaces and trafficked illegally across the world. Many die from suffocation, starvation, dehydration or fear before they make it to their final destination. If they do make it, they are forced into unnatural environments, their instincts and spirits crushed through physical control.”

“Secondly, the most coveted ‘exotic pets’ are often the most endangered, so while conservationists are desperately trying to preserve some of our planet's most majestic and important species, the exotic pet trade is actively contributing to their decimation.” 

Tigers used in photoshoots and other forms of entertainment might appear calm and compliant, but in reality, no wild animal would willingly sit still or obey commands from a human without being drugged, restrained, or violently ‘trained’.

To truly celebrate and respect this majestic and highly endangered animal as we enter the Year of The Tiger, Animals Asia urges companies and individuals to leave them where they rightfully belong - in the wild.

Read more:

One Life: Tigers | Why wild animals should never be used as photo props