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Stella McCartney has ended her relationship with her Argentinian wool supplier Ovis 21 in Patagonia following a PETA report alleging the mistreatment of sheep at the ranch. In addition to the findings from PETA, McCartney also conducted her own independent investigation of the situation and concluded that the supplier’s mishandling of its animals was intolerable.
The ranch in question, which also supplies to outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, was initially founded as a means of protecting the Patagonia grasslands and its animals. However, PETA’s disturbing and explicit report, which includes a graphic video of inhumane slaughtering techniques at Ovis 21, gives detailed accounts of lambs being bound, skinned alive and mutilated.
The 43-year-old designer, who is also a devout vegetarian, broke the news in a series of Instagram posts where she wrote:
“I am very saddened to report that we have had to cease sourcing some of our sustainable wool from Ovis 21 in Patagonia. It was born as an amazing initiative to help protect a million acres of endangered grasslands in Patagonia whilst looking after the welfare of animals. Unfortunately, after conducting our own investigation in Argentina, following a very distressful viewing of footage provided by the great guys at @officialpeta, we found out that 1 of the 26 ranches we used source sustainable wool there, mistreated its sheep. It is one too many.”
She continued her second post, “As a designer who built a brand on not using leather, fur or animal skins in its designs, I can’t tolerate it! I am devastated by the news but more determined than ever to fight for animal rights in fashion together and monitor even more closely all suppliers involved in this industry to end all innocent lives. 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.”
Patagonia also responded to PETA’s report, giving a lengthy and thorough statement on their website in which they “acknowledge responsibility for the practices shown” and expressed revulsion for the inhumane treatment. However, the company goes on to outline their differences with PETA, noting that organization’s disapproval of the use of animal products for any human purpose is a belief that they “respect but do not share.”
The retailer also acknowledges PETA’s “important role in raising awareness of harmful practices involving animals,” but asserted that they would be conducting their own independent investigation of Ovis 21 before taking further action.
In recent weeks, PETA’s work has made headlines in the fashion community for alleging the mistreatment of crocodiles at farms in Texas and Zimbabwe from which Hermes sources its skins. In response to the report, Jane Birkin requested that the French fashion house drop her name from the crocodile skin “Birkin” handbag.
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