Good news! After PETA issued a cease and desist to UGG for humane-washing its products, the company dropped claims from its website that assured potential shoppers that none of the animals in its supply chain had been treated inhumanely.
UGG uses wool, down, and leather in its products, and these industries have been shown time and again to be anything but humane for the animals they exploit. The company had previously assured its customers that these materials were humanely sourced, which is an impossibility.
Animal-Derived Products Are Always Inhumane
PETA exposés have repeatedly shown the cruelty inherent in the wool, down, and leather industries, but UGG seemingly attempted to wash its hands of the suffering behind its products.
UGG claimed its leather came from “food industry by-products.” But it’s standard practice in the meat industry to cut off the tails of lambs and calves and castrate the males (all without painkillers), forcefully cram animals into trucks for transport to slaughter, and slit their throats.
UGG also advertised that it obtains its sheepskin from certain countries, including the U.S. and Australia, because they regulate the treatment of animals—but there are no such federal laws in the U.S. for farmed animals, and the few state laws that exist are filled with exemptions that allow rampant abuse. Similarly, PETA entities have released seven exposés of facilities in Australia’s wool industry that documented abuse at more than 40 farms and shearing sheds throughout the country. Workers beat, stomped on, kicked, and mutilated sheep as they sheared them, often leaving them bloodied.
UGG bragged about using down from facilities certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), but PETA exposés on Vietnamese farms that sold “responsible” down revealed that geese were covered in gaping and bloody wounds and languished in sheds strewn with feces before they were stabbed in the neck and their feet were cut off while they were still conscious. One facility in Russia, where workers were shown hacking off live birds’ heads with a dull axe, didn’t even know that it was RDS-certified. The “responsible” down label also allows for many cruel industry standards—for example, certification only recommends (it doesn’t require) that farms be clean enough to avoid a “strong ammonia smell.”
No animal material that goes into UGG’s items can be described as “humane” by any stretch of the imagination. At least now, would-be customers won’t be misled by fake guarantees of humane treatment and compassionate shoppers will shop elsewhere.
UGG Can Change
Animal-derived products will never be humane. But there’s good news for UGG: It can take simple steps to become truly humane. If it switches to vegan materials and stops supporting industries that profit from animal suffering, its items would be attractive to shoppers everywhere.
Do you want UGG styles without the cruelty? You can encourage UGG to use all-vegan materials for its designs.