UGG boots have a very UGGly side to them.
The ‘Aussie icon’ made popular by Pamela Anderson in her Baywatch days has seen a surge in popularity over the last 20 years, particularly with young teenage girls who think UGG boots and sheepskin treated with chemicals look great. They think they look great worn in public in the middle of winter with mini skirts or Adidas three-striped track pants and with their feet rolling in as they walk on the side of the boot. You all know the look i’m talking about.
Ironically, Pamela Andersen is now one of the most recognised vegans and animal advocates in the world and stands passionately against the very thing she brought into ‘fashion’ all those years ago. Back then, she didn’t make the connection and always thought that the wool to make UGG boots was sheared off humanely and caused no harm to the animal. Pammy was wrong and she is now trying to start a new trend by advocating people NOT to buy UGGs. And I am totally on board with her.
UGGs are often made from Merino sheep who have their throats cut and their skin removed and it can often take up to eight smaller sheep to make one pair of UGG boots. So many people i’ve spoken to over the years just assume that to make UGG boots you simply shear the wool off a sheep and everyone is a happy camper. Wrong. The wool in your UGG boots is still attached to the skin of the sheep it came from. Then, most brands will often use cow leather on the outer of the shoe. Yes, like leather, that is raw skin you’re wearing on your feet (feral, man). And if it wasn’t for the countless number of toxic chemicals applied to the skin and wool, your UGG boots would literally be rotting on your feet and leaving your wardrobe smelling of decomposing flesh.
People involved in the UGG industry will often try and spin the same story that the leather industry does – that their materials are simply a byproduct of the meat industry. This isn’t true. The sale of the skin from sheep is a multi-squillon dollar industry on its own. Don’t believe the crap these big companies spin. The majority of the time they only have one goal in mind and I’ll give you the hot tip – it’s not the welfare or rights of the animals. It’s cold.hard.cash.
To add insult to injury, many rip-off brands out of China are copying the UGG Australia designs and producing boots that contain other types of fur. A 2011 Care2 Petition revealed that “an investigation by Humane Society International found boot makers for UGG Australia footwear were among a group of Australian manufacturers mislabeling products as wool when they were actually using the pelts of raccoon dogs, skinned alive in China”. Sick bastards.
UGG boots and the practices involved with acquiring the materials to make them are barbaric, unnecessary and intolerably cruel to the animals involved. They are horrendously overpriced and most of the ‘genuine’ flesh items do the same job as a $6 pair from Coles. I am a firm believer in the notion that UGGs should only be worn in the home and if that’s the case, who cares what brand they are? Let’s be real here. They’re hideous looking shoes that should only be worn for comfort, not fashion, and no parent should be letting their teenage daughter out of the house in the look I mentioned earlier. Seriously, please don’t.
Please choose your cosy footwear wisely and compassionately this winter. Avoid UGG Australia (it’s not even an Australian company, despite the name. It’s owned by an American outdoor brand) and any other brand that uses real sheepskin and leather in their products. The only thing you’re supporting when buying from brands like these is cruelty. Make a choice that makes you feel warm and fuzzy on your feet AND on the inside.
Here are some fantastic cruelty-free UGG boot options:
A vegan and cruelty-free brand that is conscious of both animals and the environment. Neuaura use quality and sustainable materials wherever possible and their products are made in ethical and sweatshop free factories. One of the first high-end cruelty-free options for UGGs.
Starting at approx. $190 from Neuaura Shoes.
A great brand producing bucket loads of cruelty-free options at fantastic price points.
$39.99 at City Beach.
$25 will get you a pair of UGG boots that will last you for seasons unless you’re one of THOSE ones that wears them outside in public with a mini skin. Target have a great range of styles and colours.
$25 at Target.
Again, a great range of boots at affordable price points.
$19.99 at Surf Stitch.
Gool ol’ Cotton On aka Rubi Shoes. You can always rely on these guys to produce some synthetic shoes suitable for people who care.
From $15.00 at Cotton On.