LONDON — Patagonia said Monday that it has stopped purchasing wool from the Ovis 21 network of farms in Patagonia, Argentina, following footage released last week by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which appeared to show sheep being injured and killed on one of the Ovis 21 farms.
In a post on the company’s Web site Monday, Patagonia’s chief executive officer Rose Marcario said that the Ventura, Calif.-based outdoor apparel firm had concluded that “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.”
As reported, Stella McCartney said Friday that she had stopped sourcing from the Ovis 21 network after seeing the film. Patagonia had said Friday it was investigating the film’s claims.
Marcario noted that the most “shocking” portion of PETA’s video showed sheep being killed for human consumption. While she said that most commercial-scale ranches that produce wool also produce meat, Marcario noted that “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 slaughtering.”
She said that while the company had taken steps to protect animals when partnering with Ovis 21, “we failed to implement a comprehensive process to assure animal welfare.”
Marcario said Patagonia does, however, reject PETA’s stance that all wool production is cruel, and will continue to use wool in its products because of its “unique performance attributes.” But while the company will sell products made from wool that it has already purchased, Marcario said Patagonia would not purchase wool again until it can establish “a verifiable process that ensures the humane treatment of animals,” in its sourcing.
Marcario also said that Patagonia will push for “the strongest possible animal welfare standards” to be integrated into the forthcoming Responsible Wool Standard. The initiative has been started by the U.S.’s Textile Exchange, and Patagonia is one of the firms on its steering committee. It is designed to protect animal welfare, influence best practices and ensure traceability in the wool supply chain.