In October 2016, a since-deleted petition hosted on the web site DailyPetition.com (of which there are no archives) alleged that the Michael Kors brand abused dogs and skinned them alive in the manufacture of their products:
An undercover investigation carried out by animal rights group PETA has revealed the terrible truth of the dog leather industry in China. Currently, there is a strong mechanism in place to keep this disgusting industry in full swing mode. Needless to imagine, this involves a lot of suffering for man's best friend.
PETA has also managed to provide valuable insight about how this industry actually functions: stray dogs are captured from the streets by professional dog snatchers. They are sold to unlicensed facilities were their life is taken in the most abrupt way: they are hit over and oven with bladed objects (bats or sticks), before the actual skinning process starts. Some of the dogs are still alive when this happens. Their lifeless bodies are piled up and left in the facility's dumpster for days. According to the investigator present on the scene, the sight and smell was absolutely terrible and difficult to endure. According to PETA, such facilities can process and deposit as many as 200 dogs each day.
The compound visited by PETA housed 300 dogs. All them of them were kept in terrible conditions: deprived from their freedom, they were placed in tiny, dirty and dark cages, frightened and all alone. They were left without food and water for days. Most of them, constantly agitated, were climbing on each other in a desperate attempt to escape. But neither of them would see the light of day again. The floor of this facility would be later filled with tons of liters of blood. Innocent dog blood. All in the name of fashion. Please note that the images come from just one plant, but there are hundreds of similar facilities all across China.
After the skinning is complete and the dog skin is properly processed, it is later sold to fashion companies such as Michael Kors, which transform them into trendy leather jackets or posh handbags, sold to unsuspecting customers at unreasonably high prices. The well known American designer has been long profiting off the backs of innocent dogs in China.
However, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) Twitter timeline lacked any content about products made from dog fur or Michael Kors, suggesting that the petition did not originate with that organization. A 25 October 2016 article published by an English-language version of a Chinese web site stated that the petition referenced a "DNA test" being needed to determine whether the animal products were indeed canine-derived, suggesting the claim had not been substantiated:
U.S. animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) claim that their undercover investigation into China’s dog leather industry revealed how some facilities process as many as 200 dog carcasses every day, and then sell the processed dog skin to fashion companies such as Michael Kors to make leather jackets and handbags — items labeled as lamb skin.
The report pointed out that most animal skin looks similar, and it’s almost impossible to determine what animal a given piece of leather comes from without a DNA test, according to a petition launched by animal rights activist Jerald Marrero on Oct. 20.
The petition calls for a halt on the alleged dog skinning, and has received 17,908 signatures. It has been shared on Facebook and Twitter more than 26,000 times.
“As one of the leading brands in the fashion industry, it is extremely important for Michael Kors to stand up against the Chinese leather trade and stop using this cruel fabric in its collections immediately,” the petition said.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) criticized Michael Kors in 2010 for using fur in general (but not dog fur specifically):
Project Runway‘s eighth season premieres tonight, and coincidentally I just heard about an opportunity to let judge Michael Kors know what we think of his designs — which include real fur. Kors tweeted that he will be answering questions from his fans in a Facebook video on August 4. Let’s take him up on his offer and flood him with questions, such as “Did you know that animals are skinned alive for their fur?” and “With all the luxurious faux furs that are available, why do you continue to kill animals?” or maybe “Would you submit to a brain scan to see if your empathy neurons are underdeveloped?”
PETA's 2010 comment made no mention of dogs, however, simply asserting that (unspecified) animals used in the manufacture of some Michael Kors products were "skinned alive for their fur."
The provenance of the petition hosted on DailyPetition.com is unknown, and a Whois search indicates that DailyPetition was created in July 2016 and that its ownership information is private:
Michael Kors sent us the following short statement about the dog fur rumors:
We wanted to let you know that these accusations are 100% false. Below please find an official company statement on the matter:
- “Michael Kors leather products are not made of dog skin. The accusations that have been published are false.”
The brand repeatedly denied the rumors on Twitter as well:
@Cooki3Wongster Michael Kors leather products are not made of dog skin. The accusations that have been published are false.
— Michael Kors (@MichaelKors) October 25, 2016
Although the Michael Kors petition had disappeared by 25 October 2016, reproductions, screenshots, copies, and other remnants of it have remained in circulation on social media.