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Groundbreaking Undercover Investigation: Crying, Vomiting Alpacas Tied Down, Cut Up for Sweaters and Scarves

Update (April 9, 2024): Victory! Based on PETA’s evidence, Peruvian authorities have charged five individuals with cruelty to animals—marking the first time that shearers will be prosecuted for abusing alpacas.

Read about the investigation below.

Originally published May 31, 2020:

You’ve never seen anything like this before. After watching this video you’ll leave that alpaca sweater, scarf, or ball of yarn on the shelf.

A disturbing, first-of-its-kind PETA undercover investigation reveals that workers hit, kicked, tied down, and mutilated pregnant, crying alpacas in Peru, the world’s top alpaca producer.

This groundbreaking footage highlights just some of the abuse documented at Mallkini, the world’s largest privately owned alpaca farm, near Muñani, Peru. Mallkini is owned by the Michell Group, the world’s largest exporter of alpaca tops and yarn and a supplier of major brands, including Anthropologie.

After talks with PETA entities worldwide, ESPRIT, Marks & Spencer, and Smith & Caughey’s will now phase out alpaca. And as a first step, Gap Inc. (which owns Banana Republic, Athleta, and more) and the H&M group (including its eight brands) have cut ties with Michell, which had supplied them with alpaca.

Michell claims that shearing causes alpacas “no harm.” Please, see for yourself, and join us in helping these animals.

Roughly Handled, Tied Down, and Terrified

Mallkini workers pulled alpacas up off the floor by the tail and yanked them around. According to one veterinary expert who reviewed the footage, such “excessive force applied to the bones, joints, and soft tissues in the area” would cause dislocations, fractures, and severe permanent nerve damage.

They slammed pregnant alpacas onto tables.

Workers tied them tightly by the legs into a restraining device reminiscent of a medieval torture rack and pulled hard, nearly wrenching their legs out of their sockets.

The alpacas struggled, risking and sometimes no doubt incurring injuries.

Shearers worked quickly and carelessly, leaving the animals bleeding from deep, painful wounds. This alpaca bled from the mouth.

These alpacas bled from their forelimbs.

Crying Out and Vomiting in Profound Fear

Restraint is highly distressing to alpacas, who are prey animals and fear that they are about to be killed. (That will come later: Once they’re no longer wanted for their coats, many alpacas are slaughtered for food.)

Terrified of being pinned down and totally defenseless, they cried out, spit, and vomited in fear as workers grabbed them by the ears.

One expert wrote, “Alpacas … have an innate instinct to flee from danger and potential harm. Restraining them on their backs and sides would cause fear, panic, and severe psychological distress.

Afterward, the workers threw them onto the concrete floor and even stood on their necks.

Some alpacas froze for several minutes, apparently exhausted after their ordeal.

alpacas short and bleeding in peru
Shorn alpacas bled from the torso and hips.

Severe Suffering and Stress

Shearers worked quickly and carelessly, leaving the animals bleeding from deep, painful wounds.

One alpaca’s eyelid appeared to have been severed, while another bled from the mouth.

alpaca with severed eyelid standing with several other shorn alpacas
This shorn alpaca’s eyelid had apparently been severed, causing her to bleed (center, with green paint on her head).

When the workers stitched them up, most were never even given a topical numbing spray, which would have been inadequate anyway for gaping wounds. According to one veterinarian, “The workers are inflicting excruciating pain and torture by sewing up wounds on fully conscious restrained animals without proper pain control” [emphasis added].

Able to hear, smell, and see what was happening, other alpacas huddled together in fear.

Alpacas who could see what was happening huddled together in fear.

You Can Help Stop This!

The best thing that you can do for alpacas is refuse to buy anything made of their fleece! It’s easy to check the label when you’re shopping. If it includes the word “alpaca,” leave it on the shelf.

If you think you have what it takes to carry out undercover investigations like this one, we want to hear from youContact PETA to share your gratitude with the investigators who revealed this cruelty.

Please also ask Anthropologie to drop alpaca items immediately in favor of animal-friendly materials.

Groundbreaking Undercover Investigation: Crying, Vomiting Alpacas Tied Down, Cut Up for Sweaters and Scarves

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