Are UGGs Cruel to Animals?

Have you ever noticed that when something becomes popular, be it a product or a person or a fashion item and everyone loves it, it becomes the 'must-have' item of that season or the person everyone wants to read about? Well, whenever anything or anybody seems to enjoy a period of fame and popularity, invariably there comes a backlash at some point and negativity creeps in. To give a few examples from the media, take Posh and Becks, the 'golden' couple, their perfect lives constantly followed by the press and the public. They were really very popular but then came the backlash with them each being slated by the press for various things and the media brought them back down to earth with a bump. Not sure how much of it was true but they were no longer the darlings of the tabloids and the media love to pull people to pieces. It happens with other things too, and since they have been extremely popular for a good few years, the UGG brand has managed to avoid it for a while but now it is happening.

UGGs have been around a long time, since the early 90's in fact when they were first worn and made popular by Californian surfers to keep their feet warm when they came out of the water. They've come a long way since then and have done extremely well under their current owner Deckers Outdoor who apparently have plans to expand their range and sell their boots in their own retail stores which is a great idea for brand building and it seems that Deckers can do no wrong when it comes to UGGs.

But there will always be rumour-mongers who try to sour things for this very successful brand and one such rumour is that the process of making the UGG boots is actually quite cruel to the sheep. So what are these rumours and are they true? Well, the PETA organisation (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has been saying that making UGG boots is cruel to sheep but it is in their interests to say this. PETA say that the merino sheep (this is the sheep that the wool comes from to make the UGGs) is sometimes tortured to death if they become awkward during the process of obtaining their wool to make the UGGs. They also say that the merino sheep grows so much wool that it creates folds in their skin which is then sometimes cut during the shearing process and these wounds are left open which is dangerous and cruel to the sheep. PETA have been known to exaggerate their facts a bit though. However, if you think about it a bit more, sheep are not killed for their wool, they are only sheared and the shearing process is one which has always been done for hundreds of years so it is a natural part of life for sheep, they would get very hot in summer if they had their great big woolly coats on. That is not to say that occasionally some sheep may be cut or wounded during the shearing process but probably not to the extent that they are tortured or killed. The merino wool is only used for lining the UGG boots and no other parts of the sheep are needed since the outside and the bottom of the boots are all man-made anyway. So this kind of suggestion about cruelty to sheep to get wool for UGG boots attempts to taint the UGG brand but it is probably not a well-founded argument.

It would come down to something of a personal choice for the individual who is thinking of buying a pair and whether they agree with what they hear and maybe, if they are unsure, for them to research it themselves to help them make up their own minds regarding any animal cruelty issues. On the flip side of that though is the argument that surely the popularity of the UGG over the past ten years has meant that the demand for merino wool has been consistent and therefore helping the economy and sheep farmers alike?. There's another thing to consider.