People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is both a protestor—and an investor—at Canada Goose’s splashy initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.
The animal-rights organization sent activists that wore coyote masks and business suits to downtown Manhattan to protest Canada Goose, a newly public purveyor of $900 parkas that feature animal products including duck feathers and coyote fur. Protestors had signs that read “Trading in Lives Is Bad for Business.”
PETA, known for taking aggressive tactics against fashion brands and retailers that make or sell goods that utilize animal products, said in a statement it was calling on consumers to “reject Canada Goose’s cruelty to coyotes and geese and to invest in kindness by buying vegan clothing instead.”
As Fortune reported earlier today, Canada Goose warned investors ahead of the IPO offerings in New York and Toronto that animal-rights activists were a business risk. In regulatory filings, Canada Goose stated the following:
“We have been the target of activists in the past, and may continue to be in the future. Our products include certain animal products, including goose and duck feathers in all of our down-filled parkas and coyote fur on the hoods of some of our parkas, which has drawn the attention of animal welfare activists. In addition, protestors can disrupt sales at our stores, or use social media or other campaigns to sway public opinion against our products. If any such activists are successful at either of these our sales and results of operations may be adversely affected.”
In an e-mail to Fortune, Canada Goose said PETA and other activist groups “misrepresent the facts and use sensational tactics to try to illicit a reaction and mislead consumers. They ignore the strict government regulation and standards that are in place, as well as our commitment to ethical sourcing practices and responsible use of fur and down.”
“We understand that some people think animal products should never be used in any consumer products, including food, and we respect that, however we do not share the same view,” Canada Goose said in the statement. The company has also published two videos to explain how it sources down and fur.
Interestingly, while PETA is protesting the company’s IPO, it is also planning to buy shares and become an investor. PETA earlier this week said it would purchase the minimum amount of stock required so it can attend and speak at annual meetings, as well as submit shareholder resolutions to try to get the outerwear maker to stop using animal products in its jackets. That’s a tactic that’s common on Wall Street. Anti-tobacco advocates, for example, often buy shares in cigarette makers so they can offer up shareholder resolutions that match their advocacy.
And because fur and other animal products are commonly used by many luxury brands, Canada Goose isn’t the first—nor likely the last—to find itself the target of a PETA protest. The organization has also invaded fashion shows and targeted big names like Calvin Klein, J. Crew and Gap.