The word Ugg was originally an Australian term used to refer to the sheepskin footwear that surfers used to wear, to keep their feet warm. On coming to America, Brian Smith who was an Australian surfer started the company back in the 1980s. It was later acquired by Deckers Brands who have gone on to sue Australian Leathers which is one of the last Ugg boot makers in Australia for using the word Ugg in their branding, disregarding the fact that the latter has been in business longer than them and that the term Ugg is a generic term to most people rather than a brand name. Does their cruelty start and end here or is it that it is not limited to animals alone? Let’s find out the answer to the question Is UGG cruelty-free?
UGG’s Animal Welfare Policy
A quick visit to the UGG website should bring you across Ugg’s animal welfare policy where they go to great lengths to assure their customers of the high quality of their sheepskin and commitment to using sheepskins that are acquired from food industries as by-products only.
By so doing, they remove themselves from the cares of the nature of the farm life that was experienced by the hosts of the hides that their tanneries buy. They do admit to having a challenging time facilitating high-level farming practices or effecting any rudimentary change. It is an almost impossible thing to do when you don’t have a direct link to the farmer.
UGG has narrowed down the countries from which it sources its sheepskins down to five, namely: the UK, Spain, Ireland, the United States, and Australia. They consider these countries to be among the few sheepskin sources that have well-established high animal welfare standards.
It does not take sheepskin acquired from North Africa and the Middle East, seeing as animal welfare policies are almost non-existent in those regions of the world. It also has select trusted tanneries from which it gets its sheepskins.
The Drawbacks of UGG’s Animal Welfare Policy
There are several obscurities presented by their animal welfare policies that cannot completely remove doubts from people’s minds about their cruelty-free claims. The unreliability of the food industry practices is a major issue when it comes to the violation of animal rights.
Over the years there have been countless leaked video clips of the shocking and gruesome torture that animals are subjected to in slaughterhouses. Documentaries such as Earthlings have become terrors for all that dare watch them. They show the dilapidation of human regard for animals and give an insight into just how low the food industry is willing to stoop just to cut corners for higher profit margins
Simply buying hides from animals intended for food products is not enough to guarantee that UGG’s products are cruelty-free. There are also the farmers that we need to worry about, not all of them use ethical and humane methods when rearing livestock for food.
Australia, which happens to be one of UGG’s biggest suppliers of sheepskin was once exposed by Alicia Beth Moore; a singer and songwriter popularly known as Pink. She spoke for (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) PETA against the cruelty that sheep were facing in Australian farms. And yet UGG kept Australia as a source for their sheepskin despite this.
UGG has partnered with Savory Institute in supporting farmers through their program aimed at increasing biodiversity and reversing desertification by introducing methods of facilitating the restoration and regeneration of soil. This is a noble cause indeed, undertaken by UGG but we cannot disregard the fact that climate change advocacy is a far cry from what is truly required to ensure a cruelty-free manufacturing chain.
Despite their attempts to foster ethical trade practices, there are still doubters who seem to think that no large-scale, animal product-based manufacturer can be 100% cruelty-free. Some have even coined the term “UGG-LY” to refer to the accusations raised against UGG in the past.
The query of whether UGG is cruelty-free or not is debatable, but at least they have taken measures to mitigate and make certain that their “sourcing net” does not catch unethically treated animals and that is commendable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are Ugg boots made?
Ugg boots manufactured by the UGG brand are made in China. Other brands make them in Australia and New Zealand.
Is UGG the only company that makes Uggs?
Several other companies make Uggs, Sorel, and Bearpaw are such companies if you are interested in alternative brands.
Are Uggs only made of sheepskin?
Some brands use cowhide, suede, leather and with vegan communities, on the rise, some brands are opting to use 100% synthetic materials to accommodate them.
How is the Ugg boot sizing?
Ugg boots are normally 1 size bigger, in the United Kingdom, they are 1.5 sizes bigger and so one is advised to downsize when buying Uggs to avoid purchasing ill-fitting shoes.