As one of the fashion industry's leading animal rights advocates, Stella McCartney has long been vocal about her eponymous label's sustainability initiatives. And while her label is strictly committed to using leather, skin and fur alternatives, it is now faced with reevaluating its wool inventory, too.
On Thursday, PETA released a graphic, disturbing video — filmed at Ovis 21, McCartney's wool supplier in Argentina — that spotlights the inhumane treatment of the ranch's animals. The exposé (which, again, is quite violent) shows workers kneeling on conscious lambs and sawing through the animals' necks with their shearing knives. Upon seeing the video herself, McCartney took to Instagram to both denounce the supplier and announce that her brand will no longer work with the ranch in question.
In her first post, 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 added in a 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.
Outdoor clothing and gear outfitter Patagonia expressed its revulsion of the Ovis 21 farm, as well, but made no mention of cutting ties with the supplier in the future, noting that in "some ways the video is misleading." In a statement posted on Instagram and referring to a broader announcement on its website, Patagonia said:
The video released by PETA showing animal mistreatment in the network of ranches where we source our wool is shocking and saddening. We have accepted responsibility and apologize for the harm done in our name. There is no excuse for violent shearing methods and inhumane slaughter.
In the statement, we also outline areas where our beliefs differ from PETA's, and explain some ways the video is misleading. Our partnership with Ovis XXI is built on a radical approach to growing wool, and it's been a significant and engaging project for us, one we are fully committed to.
A rep for Patagonia could not be reached for further comment.
McCartney's reaction is not entirely dissimilar from that of Jane Birkin's, who, in July, asked that Hermès remove her name from the crocodile Birkin Bag after a PETA investigation alleged animal cruelty at its supplier in Texas. When the French fashion house refused, PETA then purchased a single share in the company to gain access to its shareholder meetings.
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