Lambs are being skinned alive and mutilated by suppliers for a company that claims their wool is “responsibly sourced.” A graphic video was recently published by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), showing young lambs having pieces of their ears cut out with tools that look like pliers.
The poor lambs also had their tails cut off while still alive, without any painkillers.
One lamb was castrated by having a tight ring put around his scrotum, again, without any painkillers.
Sheep were stamped on and left cut and bleeding while they were being sheared. According to one worker, a sheep even died from a wound afterwards.
Most appallingly, workers were documented killing conscious lambs in horrifying, gruesome ways.
PETA described the slaughter in shocking detail.
“They tied the animals’ legs together, plunged knives into their throats and sawed through their necks. Then they snapped the animals’ heads backwards, apparently trying to break their necks. Minutes later, some lambs were still alive and kicking when a worker drove a knife into their legs to start skinning them. Eventually, they were hacked apart. Their organs were carved out of their bodies and their severed heads dumped into a bloody tub.”
Other terrified lambs witnessed their fate as they watched other lambs being horrifically tortured and killed.
According to PETA, these types of gruesome and shocking mutilations are common across the wool industry.
Warning—the following video contains graphic content.
Reuters reports Patagonia said in a statement that the footage was “as disturbing as anything PETA puts out.”
The company added it was “especially humbling” because the company had hoped to improve animal welfare by working with Ovis 21 on a new approach to grazing.
Patagonia stands by the company’s commitment to sustainability and responsible sourcing.
The company said it had not audited the network’s animal-welfare practices, and had been unaware of the issues raised concerning the lambs.
Patagonia offered the following statement.
“We are investigating the practices shown. We will work with Ovis 21 to make needed corrections and improvements, and report back to our customers and the public on the steps we will take. We apologize for the harm done in our name; we will keep you posted.”
Patagonia said it respects PETA’s beliefs. Nevertheless, the Ventura, California, based company said it does not share PETA’s conviction that animals, like lambs, should not be used for any human purpose. PETA cites that all wool is the needless product of a cruel business.
PETA commented as follows.
“It’s a pipe dream to think that wool can be mass-produced without causing animals to suffer.”
Update: Patagonia’s CEO, Rose Marcario, issued a follow-up statement, which appear, in part, below.
“We’ve spent the past several days looking deep into our wool supply chain, shocked by the disturbing footage of animal cruelty that came to light last week. Patagonia’s partnership with Ovis 21 has been a source of pride because of the program’s genuine commitment to regenerating the grassland ecosystem, but this work must come equally with respectful and humane treatment of the animals that contribute to this endeavor.
The most shocking portion of PETA’s video shows the killing of animals for human consumption. Like those in the Ovis 21 network, most commercial-scale ranches that produce wool from sheep also produce meat. What’s most important is that we apply strong and consistent measures to ensure animals on ranches that supply wool for products bearing the Patagonia name are treated humanely, whether during shearing or slaughter. We took some important steps to protect animals in partnering with Ovis 21, but we failed to implement a comprehensive process to assure animal welfare, and we are dismayed to witness such horrifying mistreatment.
In light of this, we’ve made a frank and open-eyed assessment of the Ovis program. 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. This is a difficult decision, but it’s the right thing to do.”
[Featured image via Scott Barbour / Getty Images]