Aug 17 (Reuters) - Outdoor clothing maker Patagonia said on Monday it has stopped buying wool from the Ovis 21 network of farms in Argentina after U.S. animal rights activists released video of workers there slashing and stabbing lambs with knives.
The footage published on Thursday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) showed the cruel treatment at farms which supplied the Ventura, California-based company with merino wool used in its base layers and insulation.
Patagonia’s Chief Executive Officer Rose Marcario said in a statement the company was shocked by the video, and they were dismayed to witness such “horrifying” mistreatment.
“We’ve made a frank and open-eyed assessment of the Ovis program,” Marcario said.
“Our conclusion: it is impossible to ensure immediate changes to objectionable practices on Ovis 21 ranches, and we have therefore made the decision that we will no longer buy wool from them.”
Consumers reacting to the video on social media websites vowed to never again buy Patagonia goods.
The company promised to search for ethical and sustainable sources of wool for its popular base layers, according to the company statement.
“We reject the notion that cruelty is essential to wool production, despite what PETA claims,” the statement says, promising Patagonia will search for a new partner with the same goals.
The animal rights group applauded the decision, but warned that Patagonia should abandon the use of wool.
“PETA praises the new move, as ‘all steps are good steps,’ but cautions that as Patagonia delves deeper into the wool supply chain, it will find that cruelty will always be a part of wool production,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement on Monday.
“The only one hundred percent humane solution is to switch to all-vegan wool,” Newkirk said. (Reporting by Marty Graham in San Diego; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler)