Clothing brand UGG assures its customers that the animals whose skin, down, and wool are used for its products were treated humanely—despite having no way to prove it. In response, PETA sent UGG a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the company remove any such claims from its website and other marketing materials and giving it until December 1 to comply. Failure to comply would risk the filing of a complaint with federal authorities.
PETA exposés have repeatedly shown the cruelty inherent in the wool, down, and leather industries, yet UGG is seemingly attempting to wash its hands of the suffering behind its products. We’re calling on the company to stop misleading the public with deceptive marketing claims and urging consumers not to fall for humane-washing tactics. The only humane option is a vegan one.
On its website, UGG claims that it never accepts hides that come “from animals who have been raised or slaughtered inhumanely” and that it ensures this by obtaining only ones that are “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 advertises 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 also brags 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.”
Earlier this year, PETA sent cease-and-desist letters to retailers Quince and Naadam over similar “humane” claims—prompting both companies to drop them.
Urge UGG to Do Better
Tell UGG to choose only vegan materials and to stop supporting the exploitation and slaughter of animals: