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Alternative Apparel Nixes Wool Sales After Urging by PETA

Alternative Apparel announced Wednesday that it will no longer be producing items made from wool.

The Georgia-based clothing brand was reportedly persuaded by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which made an appeal by describing the “shocking, systemic cruelty” in the wool industry.

“Alternative Apparel did the right thing after learning that crying sheep are dragged to the shearing floor and punched in the face and that their throats are even slit—all for wool sweaters and hats,” Tracy Reiman, executive vice president at PETA, said in a statement. “This company’s compassionate, business-savvy decision proves that retailers don’t have to choose between being fashionable and being kind, and PETA urges other retailers to follow suit.”

PETA, whose motto includes the phrase “animals are not ours to wear,” recently released two new videos recorded on sheep farms in Australia, the world’s No. 1 exporter of wool. Revealing a lurid tableau of works beating, mutilating and slitting the throats of still-conscious animals, the exposés are the animal-rights group’s 10th and 11th to condemn the global wool industry since 2014.

In November, PETA launched a campaign against Forever 21 to dissuade the fast-fashion purveyor from using wool. It also asked Australia’s law-enforcement officials to investigate Forever 21’s wool suppliers for what it has deemed violations against each Australian state’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Just after the new year, PETA placed ads showing an image of a bloody lamb on the tops of taxis operating near Forever 21’s store in Atlantic City, N.J.

Forever 21 has hit out against the organization, however.

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“To the best of our knowledge, Forever 21 does not source any materials from farms in Australia and therefore refutes the accuracy of PETA’s claims,” a spokesperson told Sourcing Journal. “We remain deeply committed to working with vendors that employ strict animal welfare practices.”

By turns provocative, PETA’s efforts to wean the fashion industry off wool have had varying degrees of success. A 2015 exposé about Ovis 21, an Argentine network of farms that produces so-called “ethically sourced” wool, for instance, prompted Patagonia and Stella McCartney to sever ties with the organization, if not to give up the fiber entirely.

Last year, Stella McCartney and PETA co-sponsored a Biodesign Challenge award for animal-free “wool.” A team of students from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, received the distinction for Woocoa, a hairy fiber composed of hemp and coconut fibers treated with enzymes extracted from oyster mushrooms.