By Megan Drummond
Here come the UGGs, ready to tread through the winter months providing warm cozy feet. Yet some people are not so fond of UGGs, in fact, some people are completely against them. They claim that the wool is gathered at the cruel and abusive expense of the merino sheep. So will this hype stop this trend?
The production of anything requiring animal byproducts always has two sides of the story, but which can be believed? There is the animal rights activist side who is against the production of UGGs and other animal made products, and the other side who sees UGGs as a necessity or they just don’t see it as bad because the wool is just a byproduct from the meat industry.
Originating in Australia during the ‘70s, UGGs started out as shoes that surfers would wear after they got out of the cold water. When the trend was brought to the United States, many celebrities like Pamela Anderson began wearing the boots and started a fashion trend. Now rumors of animal cruelty threaten to end the fad.
PETA is a group fighting against animal cruelty with a slogan of “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way”. Pamela Anderson and PETA have been working together to inform UGG buyers that they are abusing the merino sheep simply for the purpose of making shoes. PETA quoted Pamela Anderson saying, “I feel so guilty for that craze being started around Baywatch days – I used to wear them with my red swimsuit to keep warm – never realizing that they were SKIN! Do NOT buy UGGs!”
According to an UGG resource specialist, PETA and Anderson are misinformed. “It is definitely not true. UGG Australia does not harm any animals for our products. All of our sheepskin is a byproduct of the meat industry, which in the past was discarded. Now we obtain that sheepskin and reuse it so it is not going to waste.”
These popular boots are being made from the skins and wool of the merino sheep. The sheep are being used for meat, just like cows and chickens. The skin and wool are then recycled into products like UGGs. This is just like leather, which makes couches, purses, shoes and many more products people come in contact with on a daily basis.UGGs are made with a suede exterior and a sheepskin interior. UGG wants buyers to know that there is no animal abuse happening in the manufacturing of their products.
According to Animal Welfare, “UGG is a leader in humane practices regarding the raising of sheep. We actively support efforts of animal rights organizations to end the practice of mulesing by requiring our suppliers to certify that they do not supply any materials or products to Deckers from sheep which have been mulesed.”
These trendy boots are so popular now because “everyone else has them, so I kind of wanted to be trendy” said Chelsea Deloge, a FSU nursing student. “They’re really comfortable and keep my feet so warm in the winter, and if you get the right color they match almost anything, which is nice.”
Many teenaged girls and young adults own at least one pair of UGGs if not many more. Any style you could ever want has been produced; there are UGGs for men, women and children in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of colors to suit anyone’s needs.
Many wearers of UGGs like Assumption College student, Kaitlin Vinal wear the boots because they are “warm and cozy”. The real fact she said was, “The boots are going to be made anyways, my pair is just a small part of one sheep. The rest of the sheep will be consumed so it’s not going to waste.”
Those who wear UGGs products all stand by the fact that the animal is being reused so there is no animal abuse, but the argument will never end. Groups like PETA will always say killing an animal for food is abuse, even though it is done humanely. The animal’s life has already been taken for food, so there’s no reason to let the sheepskin go to waste, its better off recycled.