As cattle producers, I believe it’s important to band together when a segment of the livestock industry is under attack. A few weeks ago, I came across an article that appeared on Yahoo! entitled, “UGGs® and Their ‘UGGly’ Reputation.” Written by Zac Johnson, the piece described the “horrors” of how the popular UGG boots are made.
The article has since been removed because of the false information presented, but reading through the comments section, it is clear there are some misconceptions among the public regarding animal hides.
In his article, Johnson describes how sheep are skinned alive to make the expensive, trendy boot that many people wear during the winter months. The boots were made popular when Pamela Anderson wore them during her role on the show, “Baywatch.”
In 2007, Pamela Anderson apparently finally realized that her UGG boots were made of sheepskin. You may recognize Anderson as a spokesperson for PETA, one of those celebrity gals who pose naked to campaign against wearing fur. Anyway, she posted this statement on her website: "I thought they [sheep] were shaved kindly? People like to tell me all the time that I started that trend – yikes! Well, let's start a new one – do NOT buy Uggs! Buy Stella McCartney or juicy boots."
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According to Wikipedia, “In February 2008, the Princeton Animal Welfare Society staged a campus protest against the fur industry, particularly attacking the UGG boot industry.
"Students lay in the newly fallen snow on the Frist Campus Center's North Front Lawn, feigning death, wearing coats covered with fake blood and sporting signs that read, 'What if you were killed for your coat?'"
It is important for shoppers to understand that sheepskin is the same as any other kind of leather. It is a by-product of processing sheep for human consumption. The animal is not skinned alive in the process, and sheep are not killed for their skins. Every inch of the animal is used for meat and by-products that can enrich human lives.
It is interesting to note, however, that the rise in popularity of UGG boots has been the driving force in recent shortages of sheepskins, with a resulting 80% rise in sheepskin prices between 2010 and 2012.
Please help spread the word that UGG boots are made humanely procured by respectfully harvesting the sheep, and using the animal hide as a by-product to make boots and other sheepskin and wool-based items.
What do you think about this controversy? What’s the best way to respond to erroneous information posted online? Have you ever tried to correct such misinformation Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
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