In April 2017, PETA observers visited a massive sheep-shearing operation near Jericho, Utah, where thousands of sheep from Red Pine Land & Livestock, LLC, which was listed on Patagonia’s website as an approved supplier until the day it saw PETA’s exposé, are sheared each year. They found that Patagonia’s own standards were being violated. See for yourself, learn more, and then take action to help sheep now.
Pregnant Sheep Whipped, Left With Bloody Wounds
Just as PETA has exposed at dozens of shearing operations all over the world—including on a supposedly “sustainable” former Patagonia supplier in Argentina—heavily pregnant sheep in Utah were handled roughly and callously: Their necks were twisted, and they were pulled by their fleece, sent stumbling down steep ramps, and even whipped.
The seven-shearer crew could “pump out, like, a thousand [shorn sheep] a day,” according to one rancher. This would require each person to shear every sheep in an average of under three and a half minutes. Such speed inevitably leads to mistakes, and most of the shorn sheep had bloody wounds.
Does This Look Like 'Stringent' Standards?
After PETA’s 2015 video exposé showing Patagonia’s previous “sustainable” wool supplier hacking into fully conscious sheep and starting to skin some while they were alive and kicking, Patagonia severed ties with that operation and created a new “Patagonia Wool Standard” (PWS) that was intended to be “the world’s most stringent criteria for animal welfare.” But no matter how “stringent” the standards, it is not possible for suppliers to be humane.
PETA’s observers witnessed numerous violations of Patagonia’s standards in Utah, including the following:
Patagonia’s ‘Wool Standards’ Violations
Heavily pregnant sheep who were “ready to pop,” according to one rancher, were pulled by their wool into a trailer, quickly sheared, then sent stumbling down slippery ramps into a pen. Afterward, a worker whipped them to force them through a chute, all in violation of Patagonia’s wool standards, which state that “[h]eavily pregnant ewes should only be handled when absolutely necessary, and with care to avoid distress or injury.”
Most of the sheep had bloody cuts—up to 5 inches long—near their tails and on their udders, ears, necks, and torsos. No one was seen treating any wounds, in violation of Patagonia’s wool standard that states, “In the event of an injury, the shearer will cease shearing immediately to attend to the injury.”
Pregnant sheep who had virtually no wool left to protect them from the elements were driven out into the desert, where temperatures dropped to as low as 32 degrees, and left there to give birth. This violates Patagonia’s wool standards, which require that “[a]ll sheep have access to effective … shelter,” and that “[t]he environment … not be … so cold as to cause distress.”
Prodded, Jabbed, and Left to Die
The lambs born to Red Pine’s flock are considered the operation’s “main product” and are sold to California-based Superior Farms, the largest lamb slaughterer in the U.S. and a supplier to Walmart and Kroger. Last year, another animal rights group investigated a Superior Farms slaughterhouse in Dixon, California, documenting that workers jabbed sheep with electric prods and repeatedly slashed the neck of a struggling sheep and that sheep appeared to be breathing after their throats had been slit.
You Can Help Stop This
No matter where it originates, wool is a product of a cruel industry. The best way to help sheep like those seen in PETA’s exposés is simply not to buy wool.
Like leather, fur, and down, wool is stolen from individuals who are reduced to the sum of their body parts—and, in most cases, whose babies are reduced to “byproducts.” The process of exploitation is a testament to greed, as wool is one of the last things that humans seize from sheep’s bodies after stripping them of every dignity and right that is theirs.
Do more: Please join PETA in urging Patagonia to drop all wool immediately in favor of animal-friendly materials.