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UNIQLO has banned alpaca wool following the release of an undercover exposé revealing animal suffering in the industry.

Video footage shared by vegan charity PETA US shows ‘crying alpacas roughly shorn, cut open, and left bleeding from deep wounds’.

The Japanese fashion giant is the latest in a line of brands to ditch the material following the investigation. Others include Gap Inc (which owns Banana Republic, Athleta, and other brands) and H&M Group (which owns eight brands).

Investigation

PETA’s investigation into the world’s largest privately-owned alpaca farm in Mallkini, Peru, shows ‘workers holding struggling, crying alpacas by the ears as they were roughly shorn with electric clippers, causing some to vomit out of fear’. PETA adds that the shearing left the animals with deep wounds, ‘which were sewn up without adequate pain relief’.

The charity adds that workers were filmed slamming the animals (including some who were pregnant) onto tables. They ‘tied them to a stretching device, and pulled hard, nearly wrenching their legs out of their sockets’. 

‘Shocking images’

Michell, which owns the facility in Mallkini, released a statement following PETA’s investigation, saying: “The shocking images transmitted in the video undoubtedly show excesses that we deeply deplore and affect us profoundly. They have clearly been edited and show unacceptable mistreatment practices carried out by negligent shearers.”

It concludes: “We want to reiterate our commitment to continue striving to improve our animal welfare, to work for a healthier environment, to provide the best products and services to all of you, to take care of our collaborators, and to contribute to our community, always in an honest and transparent manner.”

‘Vulnerable alpacas’

But PETA director of corporate projects, Yvonne Taylor, said: “UNIQLO’s decision will go a long way in helping to prevent vulnerable alpacas from being abused and shorn bloody for their wool.

“Kind consumers can do their part to reject this cruelty by opting for vegan clothing, which no animal had to suffer for.”

PETA adds that ‘in addition to causing gentle alpacas immense suffering, the production of alpaca wool is terrible for the planet’, saying that the Higg Materials Sustainability Index ranks alpaca wool as the second most environmentally damaging material after silk.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.