Tuesday, 19 November 2013

UGGs and Their ‘UGGly’ Reputation

UGG is one of the most popular and fashionable brands in the world when it comes to boots. Everyone wants a pair and they will no doubt be another big seller as we move into the holiday shopping season.
Anyone can buy a pair of boots, but the majority of people want to pay a few bucks more for that exclusive “UGG” label. While many people know what they are getting with the UGG logo, not too many people know or care what they are really wearing or funding through their purchases.

The Ugly Reputation and Truth About UGGs

The reputation of UGGs has two sides. The first is the fluffy and comfortable goodness that everyone wants to see and feel on their feet. However, the real, yet scarcely known story and reputation of UGGs is the horrible treatment that the sheep receive to provide buyers with their wool.
But wait… isn’t shaving wool off of a sheep delicately humane? Time and time again we are seeing animal-based products and food chains hiding the facts of what really goes into making their products.
To find out the truth about UGGs and how their products are made, we will take our search to the internet
UGGs actually first became very popular thanks to Pamela Anderson, during her stint on Baywatch. Once Anderson discovered how UGG boots were actually made and that she contributed to the massive increase in sales for the company, she was mortified and has since issued a boycott of her own.
“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!”
It seems Anderson, 39, thought the boots’ woolly lining was attached to a synthetic backing. In fact, the boots are made from sheepskin with the fur intact.
“I thought they were shaved kindly,” she wrote. “People like to tell me all the time that I started that trend – yikes!”
That’s right! UGGs aren’t removing the wool from the sheep humanely. They are actually removing the SKIN with the WOOL.
This is only the beginning. It’s one thing to “learn” about how your boots are made; it’s another to actually see pictures and videos of how the animals are treated.
Plenty of web sites and bloggers have a lot to say about UGGs and their methods, but the hidden truth and reputation of these practices aren’t widely known.
In case you were wondering, UGGs are made from the skin of sheep and, therefore, the sheep are killed to make them (Wikipedia). I used to think that the wool was painlessly sheared from the sheep, but I was wrong. There is great pain and animal cruelty involved in making UGG boots. (VAP)
Some of the videos I came across while doing research for this article were just horrible. So graphic that I can’t even show them in this post. Even Pink’s PETA video (below) was hard to watch, but the truth is always hard to swallow, and that’s why so many companies get away with hiding their horrible practices.

While PETA doesn’t have the best reputation in the world, they do what they can to spread awarenesson animals in need around the world.
UGG boots are made of sheepskin (yepa sheep’s skin, people!). The sheep who are killed for UGGs are often Merino sheep—just like Pete (pictured here). Every year, millions of sheep are castrated, have part of their tails cut off (some even have their horns hot-branded), and then have their throats slit for their skin, which is what UGG boots are made of. All this—just for the sake of a pair of boots.
PETA and other organizations have released pictures, videos and articles time and time again on animal abuse around the world, just so companies like UGG can’t make their money. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the almighty dollar for most of these companies. In the case of UGGs, not many people are aware of the horrible treatment that animals endure just so their customers can wear a fluffy and comfy pair of boots.

Buying Fake UGGs Isn’t the Answer

As much as I would like to say “Boycott UGGs” and go buy a pair of fake UGG boots, this also isn’t the answer.
Without going too far off track, even fake UGG boots come with the price tag of mistreated and dead animals. This time, in the “raccoon dog” form.
DailyMail did a great piece on this topic and you can see an excerpt below:
Farmed in horrific conditions in China, the raccoon dog is a species related to the domestic dog. Animal rights activists recently released video showing sickening scenes of them being skinned alive on a Chinese fur farm.
But unlike dog or cat fur, which cannot be sold in Britain, there is no ban.
As a result, there are fears that, this winter, thousands of unsuspecting Britons may be fooled into buying imitation UGG boots made using pelts of animals skinned alive.
Clearly, the counterfeiters are prepared to go to just about any lengths to maximize profits. Across China, underpaid workers are risking their health in tanneries and sweatshops, producing boots for sale to fashion lovers in the West as the real thing.
If you find the time to read the full article on DailyMail, you will get to see how UGGs’ parent company, Deckers, takes the time and effort to confiscate these counterfeit boots, but does nothing to stop the abusive methods being used on both sheep and raccoon dogs to make these boots.

How UGGs Can Clean Up their Bad Reputation

Let’s just say for a minute that a company like UGG actually cared about their reputation and wanted to make a change in the right direction.
For sake of argument, let’s also say that money isn’t an issue. (Well, actually it isn’t. UGGs is owned by Deckers Outdoor Corporation, which has a nice steady cash flow running through the company. Deckers’ third quarter results show that UGG alone is doing well with over $330 million in sales per quarter. Imagine the difference that could be made with only 1-2% of these financial numbers put to good use on an annual basis.)
If UGGs really cared about the treatment of animals and the use of their products, they definitely have the money to do so.
There are plenty of ways for businesses to improve their reputation, but the first thing UGGs should do is change their practices and the ways they create their boots.
The next thing on their list should be a total revamp of their brand enhancement. This would include contacting PETA, sending out press releases and contacting all of the major news organizations to let them know about the positive changes being made to the company.
The final way for UGGs and Deckers Outdoor Corporation to bring a shimmer of light to their reputation would be for them to start an animal relief foundation to help stop animal abuse around the world. This should also lead them to taking action against counterfeit companies and their abusive practices, not just for financial gain but for ultimately taking a stance against the cruelty done to animals.
If you feel the same way about UGGs and their horrible practices toward animals, show your support with your personal voice and your money. The next time you are looking at those UGG boots and thinking about how nice they would feel on your feet, think about this article and you won’t feel so cozy.
Please, share this article with a friend and help spread the ugly reputation around UGGs!

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