Uniqlo has banned alpaca wool from all of its 2,200 stores.
The Japan-based fashion manufacturer and retailer ditched alpaca wool after viewing an exposé. International animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released the “first-of-its-kind” undercover investigation earlier this year.
The investigation exposed instances of animal abuse documented at a farm in Mallkini, Peru. Owned by the Michell Group, it is the largest privately-owned alpaca wool producer in the world.
The footage shows workers holding crying alpacas by the ears. The workers roughly shear the animals with electric clippers.
The video also showed workers slamming alpacas onto tables. Some of the animals were pregnant. After workers shear the alpacas, they appear to be visibly cut up. Some also appeared to have deep wounds. Some of the wounds were bleeding. According to PETA, workers sewed some of the wounds up without the use of pain relievers.
“Uniqlo’s decision will go a long way in helping to prevent vulnerable alpacas from being abused and shorn bloody for their wool,” Tracy Reiman, PETA’s Executive Vice President, said in a statement.
She added: “Kind consumers can do their part to reject this cruelty. [Opt] for vegan clothing, which no animal had to suffer for.”
Uniqlo previously banned mohair, a fabric made from the hair of Angora goats, after talks with PETA.
Other Major Fashion Brands Ditch Alpaca Wool
A number of other major fashion brands cut ties with the alpaca producer in June, following the release of PETA’s investigation. These include Gap Inc. and the H&M Group.
“PETA’s investigation pulled back the curtain on violent shearing that leaves alpacas bleeding and crying out,” Reiman said.
According to the animal rights group, Uniqlo joins Overstock, Marks & Spencer, Maison Numen, Smith & Caughey’s, and Esprit in banning alpaca fiber.
Reiman added: “We urge all retailers to protect these vulnerable animals by banning alpaca wool. [We] are calling on consumers to leave these cruelly produced items on the rack.”