A link to an article that asserts to explain the process and animal cruelty that goes into producing UGG boots is circulating the Internet.
The rumours have caused confusion, primarily down to the on-going controversy about what constitutes an UGG boot and what type of UGG boots that the article is actually referring to – a controversy that dates back a number of years.
To briefly summarise – what many refer to as “official” UGG Boots are boots manufactured and distributed by the American-owned Deckers Outdoor Corporation, who bought the UGG Holdings Inc. company back in 1995 from an Australian surfer, and with it, as they claim, the trademark “UGG”. Deckers trademarked the term UGG in many countries including the US and UK.
However in other countries, specifically Australia, things are little more complicated because many manufacturers of UGG boots, or “unofficial UGG boots”, argue that the term UGG – meaning sheepskin boots – was in common usage before Deckers acquired the company, thus making the term “UGG” illegible for trademark. The controversy in Australia means many Australian based companies still use the term “UGG” in their logos and design.
It is true that both official and unofficial UGG boots use sheepskin to create their boots, and this is not achieved merely by shearing a sheep, rather using the actual skin as well. However much of the controversy is regarding the treatment of sheep during the process of removing their skin, as many videos circulating the Internet show inhumane treatment of animals and the use of mutilation techniques such as mulesing.
Deckers Outdoor Corporation, a.k.a. UGG Australia, assert that whilst they do not own or raise the sheep used on their products, that they try to ensure that their suppliers conform to an ethical supply chain program, that prohibits animal cruelty, such as mulesing.
From their Facebook Page –
From their website –
Many manufacturers of UGG boots, unofficial UGG boots or equivalent products, explain that the sheepskin that goes into their products are merely a by-product of the food industry – this means that the sheep are slaughtered humanely, and raised for the purpose of meat consumption, and not expressly for their skin.
However, when it comes to unofficial UGG Boots, that is to say, UGG boots not distributed by UGG Australia (Deckers) then it is up to the consumer to determine whether the product was produced ethically, as many different companies producing such boots and products exist, ranging from the ethical to the immoral. Animal cruelty for the reason of consumerism is a reality, and there is no doubt that the videos that are circulating the Internet are indeed genuine. There are immoral suppliers and manufacturers out there and this type of cruelty does occur. (Read this article from PETA about raccoon dog fur.)
Like many retail purchases, this highlights the popular issue of consumer choice and responsibility, in that the onus is on the shopper to ensure that they do not purchase products that were produced in a way that the shopper would consider immoral.