It's that time of year again. You've got the thermostat cranked up, and all you want to do is sink your feet into some snug warm slippers-cum-boots. But animal rights advocates are asking you to think twice before you purchase the popular UGG boots.
According to an article in Yahoo, the Australian boots may be the epitome of comfort—human comfort, that is. Few UGG lovers seem to realize that the boots are made with real sheep wool still attached to real sheep skin. If you can stomach it, it's worth watching PETA's video (featuring my friend Pink) below.
Many people, including Pamela Anderson (who was rumoured to start the trend), believed sheep were painlessly sheared in the manufacturing process. Even Anderson backed down once she learned how the boots were made, i.e. skinned:
“I feel so guilty for that craze being started around Baywatch days—I used to wear them with my red swimsuit to keep—never realizing that they were SKIN!”
Before you rush off to buy the cheaper version, praying it's synthetic, you may want to hold off. Apparently the knock-offs aren't much better. Made in China, they are allegedly made in much the same inhumane way—out of “raccoon dogs” that have been skinned alive.
So what's a well-intentioned consumer to do? Of course we can boycott buying certain brands, since nothing makes so powerful an impact as hitting a company right where it hurts: in their profit margins.
But realistically, leather and fur and sheepskin are here to stay in some form in our wardrobes. The best we can hope for is to keep informed and to shop as ethically as possible. Check out this story about an unlikely celebrity championing animal rights.
Does known animal cruelty prevent you from buying certain items?