London – Sadly, the fashion industry is no stranger to undercover
investigations which shed light on the darkest corners of its supply
chains, especially when it comes to human right violations or animal
cruelty and abuse. Not long after animal rights organization People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) published an exposé which revealed the

suffered on farms which supplied exotic skins to Hermès for its famed
Birkin bags, comes a new case of extreme animal cruelty from within the
industry’s supply chains.

In PETA’s latest investigation, the group reveals highly disturbing video evidence of
animals cruelty
occurring on farms which are part of the Ovis 21 network in Argentina, which supply
merino wool to apparel company Patagonia as well as designer label Stella
McCartney. The short video shows workers repeatedly causing physical harm
to the sheep and lambs sheared for their wool, in some cases sawing through
the animals’ necks with knives, causing them to bleed and vomit. Other
lambs are seen having their ears and tails docked without anesthetic, with
one lamb’s genitals being left tightly bound for a slow, painful castration
and whilst another lamb was filmed being skinned alive.

‘Disturbing as anything PETA puts out’

These documented cases of animal abuse are in stark contrast to Patagonia’s
code of conduct policy, which claims its suppliers must “respect animal
welfare” and adopt “humane practices.” The outdoor apparel label, which is
known for its ongoing commitment to sustainability and responsible
sourcing, has responded to the footage, calling it “as disturbing as
anything PETA puts out.” The brand has stepped forward and accepted
responsibility for the animal cruelty conducted by its suppliers, adding
that the investigation was “especially humbling” because the company aimed
to improve animal welfare and local grasslands by working together with
Ovis 21.

Patagonia has launched an internal probe into Ovis 21 farm network, as the
company acknowledged that “beyond verifying that no mulesing occurs, we
have not audited its animal-welfare practices and were unaware of the
issues raised in the video.” PETA is currently requesting that Patagonia
halts buying and selling

however Patagonia openly states in their statement that they do not share
PETA’s belief in the use of animals for any human purpose. Nevertheless,
the company agrees the animal rights organization “plays an important role
in raising awareness of harmful practices involving animals, and we listen
when legitimate concerns are uncovered.”

The outdoor apparel company also points out that they have been working
with other labels and the Textile Exchange to develop a ‘Responsible Wool
Standard,’ which when completed would hold a global standard for the
ethical treatment of animals. “We are not immune to shocking images. There
is no excuse for violent shearing methods and inhumane slaughter,” reads
the statement. “We are investigating the practices shown. We will work with
Ovis 21 to make needed corrections and improvements, and report back to our
customers and the public on the steps we will take. We apologize for the
harm done in our name; we will keep you posted.”

Other designers who source from Ovis 21 farm network include Stella
McCartney, who is known for refusing to use fur, leather and exotic animal
skins in her collections. Following the investigation published by PETA,
McCartney commented: “After conducting our own investigation in Argentina
and throughout our supply chain, following a very distressful viewing of
PETA US footage, we immediately ceased buying wool from Ovis 21. We are
deeply saddened and shocked by the cruelty seen on the footage, as animal
welfare is at the heart of everything we do. This is a huge setback to help
saving the grasslands in Patagonia.” ”

PETA continues its battle against wool

“We are now even more determined to continue our fight for animal rights in
fashion together and monitor even more closely all the suppliers involved
in this industry. We are also looking into vegan wool as well, in the same
manner we were able to develop and incorporate high-end alternatives to
leather and fur over the years.” Following it’s investigation PETA US has
filed a complaint with Argentinean authorities, citing the country’s
federal animal protection-law.

“Having witnessed an astounding level of cruelty to sheep in every shearing
shed PETA US visited in Australia, the US and, now, Argentina, it’s high
time that companies and consumers ditch
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