Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde was arrested in New York yesterday (March 9) as one of a group of four animal rights activists involved in a protest against the Gap chain of clothes stores.
Hynde symbolically ripped up one of the Gap‘s leather jackets outside the shop (the chain’s flagship store on 48th Street) as part of her demonstration against their use of leather from what she views as “illegally and cruelly” slaughtered cows in India.
Hynde and her fellow members of PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) were led away from the scene in handcuffs – much to the delight of assembled supporters – and later released on the minor charge of criminal mischief.
A spokesperson for Hynde‘s record label, Warner Brothers, said it was unclear at present exactly what the charge meant or if the singer would have to face a court appearence.
PETA‘s own website (www.peta-online.org) reports that Hynde also broadcast the group’s new anti-Indian leather video, hosted by Pamela Anderson, and waved ‘enlarged photos of abused cows’ to reinforce their point.
Hynde herself later claimed that Gap jackets with ‘Made In India’ labels were likely to use leather from cows slaughtered in India, where cows are sacred, despite the company’s claim that that was not the case.
Ironically enough, the New York Times carried a story on Tuesday (March 7) in which they said that some time ago Gap had approached Hynde with a view to using her track ‘Stop Your Sobbing’ in their ‘Everybody in Leather’ ad campaign. Hynde declined the 100,000 dollars offered.
Gap issued a statement saying that the company shared customers concerns ‘about the humane treatment of animals’, adding that it buys its finished goods from ‘apparel factories’.
It is not the first time Hynde has publicly protested against Gap. Since mid-February, when a report on the practices used in Indian leather was published, Hynde and PETA members have demonstrated outside stores in Vancouver, Toronto, Boston and Washington DC.