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Friday, 10 March, 2000, 12:32 GMT
Hynde's leather protest arrest
Chrissie Hynde and animal rights protesters
Hynde and fellow protesters demonstrate in New York
Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde has been arrested in New York after staging a shop window protest against animal rights abuses.

The 49-year-old rock singer was charged with criminal damage after allegedly using a knife to rip leather and suede clothing displayed in the window of a branch of the Gap fashion chain.

Three other supporters of the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) were also arrested and charged. All four were later released.

Hynde, and fellow Peta members, were demonstrating against the Gap's use of leather from "cruelly" slaughtered cows in India.

Chrissie Hynde protests in Toronto
The singer demonstrated outside the Gap in Toronto in early March
Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu religion and their slaughter is legal in only a few Indian states.

Cattle marked for slaughter are taken on what Peta calls "death marches", sometimes for many hundreds of miles, to the few states where slaughter is legal.

Peta claims those transported by truck are subjected to intense overcrowding and killed using methods considered unacceptable in most countries.

Gap claims that its labels do not mean the leather is from India. But Hynde said: "India does not import leather, and it is the largest exporter of leather in the world.

"So it seems highly unlikely that the Gap buys its leather from America, where the slaughterhouse practices are considered humane and legal, and send the leather to India, stitch up the jacket and send it back to America."

She encouraged consumers who have bought Gap leather products to return them and refrain from wearing other leather products.

Peta director Dan Mathews said Gap was buying leather "from a black market where it's illegal to kill cows. And they have assumed no responsibility".

Celebrity support

The Gap has previously met with Peta activists and distributed a statement telling customers the company shared concerns "about the humane treatment of animals."

The store added that its finished garments were bought from clothing factories.

"Apparel factories often source their leather from other countries," said the statement.

"We expect apparel factories to source leather from vendors that follow applicable laws and industry best practices, including the humane treatment of animals."

Pamela Anderson Lee
Anderson Lee lends public support to Peta
Peta is one of the world's largest animal rights organisations and its other celebrity supporters include former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson Lee.

Hynde has protested at Gap stores throughout the US and in Canada. Earlier this year, she also turned down the company's offer of $100,000 (63,000) to use her Pretenders hit Stop Your Sobbing in its Everybody in Leather TV advert.

Hynde, who is originally from Akron, Ohio, and now lives in London, has served as songwriter, guitarist, and lead singer of the Pretenders since helping to found the band in 1978.

Their hits include Brass in Pocket, Middle of the Road, Don't Get Me Wrong and I'll Stand by You.

The Pretenders are due to perform on Friday in New York as a part of a concert tour of the US which Hynde has now branded a "protest tour".

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24 Feb 00 |  South Asia
Baywatch star backs cow campaign
16 May 99 |  New Music Releases
CD Review: Pretenders
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