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The outdoor clothing company, Patagonia, claims its mission is to "cause no unnecessary harm." Yet another PETA exposé of a Patagonia-approved wool producer shows that sheep suffer for wool, despite supposedly "rigorous" standards and "strong supplier partnerships."
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In April 2017, PETA observers visited a massive sheep-shearing operation near Jericho, Utah, where thousands of sheep from Red Pine Land & Livestock, LLC, which was listed on Patagonia's website as an approved supplier until the day it saw PETA's exposé, are sheared each year. They found that Patagonia's own standards were being violated.
Pregnant Sheep Whipped, Left With Bloody Wounds
Heavily pregnant sheep in Utah were handled roughly and callously. Their necks were twisted, and they were pulled by their fleece, sent stumbling down steep ramps, and even whipped.
According to one rancher, the seven-shearer crew could "pump out, like, a thousand [shorn sheep] a day". This would require each person to shear every sheep in an average of under three and a half minutes. Such speed inevitably leads to mistakes, and most of the shorn sheep had bloody wounds.
Does This Look Like 'Stringent' Standards?
After PETA's 2015 video exposé showing Patagonia's previous "sustainable" wool supplier hacking into fully conscious sheep and starting to skin some while they were alive and kicking, Patagonia severed ties with that operation and created a new "Patagonia Wool Standard" (PWS).
It was intended to be "the world's most stringent criteria for animal welfare." But no matter how "stringent" the standards, it is not possible for suppliers to be humane. PETA's observers witnessed numerous violations of Patagonia's standards in Utah, including the following:
Patagonia's 'Wool Standards' Violations:
Patagonia’s wool standards state: "[h]eavily pregnant ewes should only be handled when absolutely necessary, and with care to avoid distress or injury."
Reality: Heavily pregnant sheep who were "ready to pop," according to one rancher, were pulled by their wool into a trailer, quickly sheared, then sent stumbling down slippery ramps into a pen. Afterward, a worker whipped them to force them through a chute.
Patagonia’s wool standards state: "In the event of an injury, the shearer will cease shearing immediately to attend to the injury."
Reality: Most of the sheep had bloody cuts—up to 5 inches long—near their tails and on their udders, ears, necks, and torsos. No one was seen treating any wounds.
Patagonia’s wool standards state: "[a]ll sheep have access to effective … shelter," and that "[t]he environment … not be … so cold as to cause distress."
Reality: Pregnant sheep who had virtually no wool left to protect them from the elements were driven out into the desert, where temperatures dropped to as low as 32 degrees, and left there to give birth.
Prodded, Jabbed, and Left to Die
The lambs born to Red Pine's flock are considered the operation's "main product" and are sold to California-based Superior Farms, the largest lamb slaughterer in the U.S.
Last year, another animal rights group investigated a Superior Farms slaughterhouse in California, documenting that workers jabbed sheep with electric prods and repeatedly slashed the neck of a struggling sheep. Sheep also appeared to be breathing after their throats had been slit.
You Can Help Stop This
No matter where it originates, wool is a product of a cruel industry. The best way to help sheep, like those seen in PETA's, exposés is simply not to buy wool.
Please join PETA in urging Patagonia to drop all wool immediately in favour of animal-friendly materials.