PETA has sniffed out yet another animal cruelty offender – and ironically, it’s one of Stella McCartney’s wool suppliers, Argentinian company Ovis 21.
“A witness found workers in Argentina hacking into fully conscious lambs, starting to skin some of them while they were still alive and kicking, and otherwise mutilating, abusing, and neglecting lambs and sheep,” PETA wrote in a preamble to the gory footage. “All this happened in full view of other lambs. They were just feet away and cried out in what must have been terror and severe distress. Older sheep—used for their wool, then no longer wanted—were lined up, tackled, and dragged away to be shipped to slaughter.”
McCartney, who has been a vocal advocate for ethically made and sourced clothing, decided not to continue to do business with an organization that is so far removed from her values. “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,” she said in a statement. “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. 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.”
This discovery brings to light how difficult it is for consumers to support ethical/sustainable fashion. McCartney thought she was working with a company in line with her principles, but it turned out to be a lie. How can conscious shoppers trust that their garments are ethically sourced without 100% transparency? PETA’s study shows just how important it is for designers, manufacturers and luxury companies to be aware of and make sure that every step in the process of manufacturing clothing is being executed ethically and professionally.