Alumni will be well aware that leather frequently comes under attack from a variety of pressure groups who attack leather creating their narrative by using and mixing selective truths, errors and often what seem like deliberate lies. The latest attack on UGG boots is typical, and whether you like or hate them from a fashion perspective we all agree that we have to give them 100% support in this unpleasant case.
On November 13th, 2013, UGG Boots came under attack through a comment written on a Small Business site hoisted by Yahoo. Shortly after Yahoo removed the post saying “the article that was originally located here was inaccurate and misleading”. Yet as with most material on the Internet it continues to be replicated, in parts, throughout the Internet and its aftermath continues to generate anti UGG comments on Facebook and other social media pages.
The Yahoo article argued that the shearling used on UGGs comes from skins pulled live off animals and also discusses mistreatment of dogs supposedly used in counterfeits. UGG subsequently issued the following statement and the LeatherNaturally! programme asks you to use it to support UGGs as strongly as you can against this totally unwarranted, but sadly typical, attack:
At UGG® Australia , we want consumers to know about the sheepskin used in our products. We are among the leaders in ethical supply chain for consumer goods, and particularly the sourcing of sheepskin. UGG does not use sheepskin unless it is a byproduct of the meat industry.
1. The sheepskin that is used in many UGG products, including our Classic boots, is real. But, unlike mink, lynx and other animals that are raised exclusively for their pelts, sheep are NOT raised for their skins. According to the American Sheep Industry Association, sheep are raised primarily for meat and wool, with the sheepskin being a byproduct, worth less than 10% of the value of the sheep. In fact, at times when there has not been demand, sheepskins have been discarded as waste, sometimes even piled up and burned. This is no different than leather, which is a by-product of the beef industry, put to good use.
2. UGG is a leader in humane practices regarding the raising of sheep. We actively support efforts of animal rights organizations to end the practice of mulesing by requiring our suppliers to certify that they do not supply any materials or products to Deckers from sheep which have been mulesed.
3. Eliminating inhumane treatment of sheep, and eliminating the use of raccoon dog fur, are among the reasons UGG devotes significant resources to prevent the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit goods. We ask consumers to assist in stamping out this plague. Counterfeit products often use fur that we do not, use sheepskin from sheep not humanely raised, and can contain chemicals which pose health hazards. For example, fur of raccoon dogs and other animals – which UGG has never and will never use – has turned up in counterfeit UGG products. Counterfeiting is a social plague that involves global human rights, uses child labor and has health and safety issues. We aggressively pursue counterfeiters, from seizure of product and broad investigations to take-downs of websites, trade boards and auction sites. We will continue to work with lawmakers, Customs and policing authorities around the world to ensure that fake, inhumane and dangerous product is seized and destroyed, consumers are not duped into buying fake or dangerous products, and counterfeiters are punished.
8th December 2013