BEEF Daily

Debunking UGG® Boots And Their “UGGly” Reputation



A response to the negative media attention of UGG boots and the sheep industry.

As cattle producers, I believe it’s important to band together when a segment of the livestock industry is under attack. A few weeks ago, I came across an article that appeared on Yahoo! entitled, “UGGs® and Their ‘UGGly’ Reputation.” Written by Zac Johnson, the piece described the “horrors” of how the popular UGG boots are made.

The article has since been removed because of the false information presented, but reading through the comments section, it is clear there are some misconceptions among the public regarding animal hides.

In his article, Johnson describes how sheep are skinned alive to make the expensive, trendy boot that many people wear during the winter months. The boots were made popular when Pamela Anderson wore them during her role on the show, “Baywatch.”

In 2007, Pamela Anderson apparently finally realized that her UGG boots were made of sheepskin. You may recognize Anderson as a spokesperson for PETA, one of those celebrity gals who pose naked to campaign against wearing fur. Anyway, she posted this statement on her website: "I thought they [sheep] were shaved kindly? People like to tell me all the time that I started that trend – yikes! Well, let's start a new one – do NOT buy Uggs! Buy Stella McCartney or juicy boots."


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According to Wikipedia, “In February 2008, the Princeton Animal Welfare Society staged a campus protest against the fur industry, particularly attacking the UGG boot industry.

"Students lay in the newly fallen snow on the Frist Campus Center's North Front Lawn, feigning death, wearing coats covered with fake blood and sporting signs that read, 'What if you were killed for your coat?'"

It is important for shoppers to understand that sheepskin is the same as any other kind of leather. It is a by-product of processing sheep for human consumption. The animal is not skinned alive in the process, and sheep are not killed for their skins. Every inch of the animal is used for meat and by-products that can enrich human lives.

It is interesting to note, however, that the rise in popularity of UGG boots has been the driving force in recent shortages of sheepskins, with a resulting 80% rise in sheepskin prices between 2010 and 2012.

Please help spread the word that UGG boots are made humanely procured by respectfully harvesting the sheep, and using the animal hide as a by-product to make boots and other sheepskin and wool-based items.

What do you think about this controversy? What’s the best way to respond to erroneous information posted online? Have you ever tried to correct such misinformation Leave your thoughts in the comments section.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 72

Jenn (not verified)
on Nov 26, 2013

We live in a day and age where we don't need to eat animals, or use their by products. Why do we have standards for one mammal, and not another? Having seen the conditions on factory farms and feedlots first hand, there is nothing humane about it. Justify it all you want. I DO NOT stay alive, and am not nourished from consuming animals. I am nourished by all the other things the earth provides me. I know there are ranchers and farmers out there who, do give their animals a fairly decent life before they are slaughtered for whatever indulgent purpose we have, the demand of the industry creates a need fulfilled largely by factory farming.

Also a Jen (not verified)
on Nov 27, 2013

Uhhh, I have no idea what "factory farms"/feedlots you've been to, all the ones I've been to feed their animals better than I'm able to feed myself even when working multiple jobs...but we do still need to use animal by-products. If we took everything that had an animal by-product off the shelf there would be nothing left to buy, no more music, no more modern medicine, etc. Also the more money they make off their animals, the better farmers are able to equip themselves to tend to their livestock so the more you attack their livelihood (as well as the more cities push out onto agricultural land) the more likely it is that they're going to be forced to overcrowd their animals just to make ends meet.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 27, 2013

We need to write more letters to the editor of publications like the New York times letting the public know that hides are a by product that is often thrown away and wasted, while more oil is pumped to make artificial clothes. Anyone in Ag would know this was a stupid article, but we need to seek out and write those who believe such stupidity.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 27, 2013

There's a really good line by line debunking of this whole sorry article by Zac Johnson here -

CYNTHIA WOJDYLA (not verified)
on Nov 28, 2013

Hi all,

I am a grad student at Illinois Institute of Technology and I am doing research on UGGs, both real and counterfeit. I am looking for participants to take part in a 5-10 minute survey. The survey link is:

Once the results have been gathered, in about a week, I will post the findings on this site.

Thank you for your time!

Jeff Thomas (not verified)
on Nov 29, 2013

If you werent born with fur, You will survive without it ! You can all go back and forth forever, but its as easy as not wearing it and then you'll know your not a part of it whether its humane or not.
I cant see any HUMANE way of killing an animal anyway so, I will make sure I dont , and nobody in my family will ever wear fur produtcs. And with all the social media these days, many more will follow ....
You can survive without meat, I do and Im the healthiest person I know.

W.E. (not verified)
on Dec 3, 2013

Jeff, you may be able to survive without meat from animals for the time being, but if enough people choose to be vegans and vegetarians, eventually the quality of the food you do eat may suffer severe consequences from a lack of livestock. Surviving and thriving long-term are two very different things. Since before the dawn of civilization, whether our ancestors realized it or not, human beings have depended upon animal manures to renew and feed the soil that feeds the plants that produce our food. The quality of the nutrition of the food we eat depends upon the quality of the soil where it is grown, and determines the quality of our health. Good health depends upon an unbroken chain from the soil to our bodies, so long and so incredibly complex that no human being yet fully understands it. Twentieth century American farming techniques broke that chain. Twenty-first century children suffer the consequences. Twenty-first century science and medical industries are so intent upon selling pharmaceuticals to cure the resulting diseases of obesity, cancer, diabetes and allergies that they have not yet begun to understand that a decline in the quality of our soils is quite literally at the root of our modern epidemics.

monte (not verified)
on Dec 8, 2013

W.E. the link between herd animals and farm fertility is a hypothesis, not yet a fact. Even if fertility requires herd animals, it does not require that we eat them. I do eat meat but I think we could all be vegetarian with much less of an impact on lots of areas of our habitat. Remember the cattle used (but not eaten) in India? They haven't experienced catastrophic declines in soil fertility due to vegetarianism. South India is a hugely vegetarian place and has been for millenia. We could (and probably should) be using our own manure to enrich our soils anyway -- instead of discarding it into our water supply.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 3, 2013

Would you eat a fish if you knew that by the time it was being slaughtered/killed, it would scream like a goat or a pig ? can you imagine this sound ?
of course one must respect others view, but please be consistent, there's no difference in killing a fish or a goat, sheep, pig.
we eat meat. meat industry generates by products. leather is a by product, actually, it should be considered as part of recycling industry (as longer it does not pollute the environment along the process).

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 4, 2013

public relations for UGG BOOTS at its finest

on Dec 16, 2013

thank you so much for speaking the truth! ...I'm proud to say I'm an omnivore (actually all humans are, some are just in denial) and I love my Ugg boots, I might just buy another pair now!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

W.E. is quite correct, grass-fed means the livestock have been eating the way nature intended for them. It's un-natural to feed livestock corn, they are grazing animals, and corn isn't a grazing plant. The ONLY reason, that I'm aware of, that livestock is fed corn is to fatten them up for a higher-by-the -pound price at market. Personally, I prefer lean, antibiotic-free, grazed livestock.
Yes, there are facilities/factory farms that don't treat animals with any care. However, I believe those places are being brought to light almost daily, and those of us who truly want harmony with nature will do all we can to close down such horrors.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the word "humane" describes killing the animal is such a way they "don't know what got them". Quickness, deftness, being absolutely sure the method does the job instantaneously, that's humane. That's my personal opinion.

NoFactoryFarming (not verified)
on Dec 22, 2013

I have zero respect for any person who partakes in any aspect of animal agriculture. Those animals are not treated humanely or respectfully. I have been to factory farms and slaughterhouses. I did a paper and documentary for school. I live in a farming community. I have not been to ONE that treats animals with any sort of dignity. And don't try to claim you "do it better" or "right". Those animals lead miserable lives and the health concerns for animals, people, and the environment are astounding. Animal agriculture is all about making a buck at the expense of those that can't speak for themselves. A slaughterhouse calm and peaceful?! Those animals are terrified. It doesn't take a genius to be read the fear in their eyes. The atrocities I have seen at these places will never leave me, they haunt me. I could never sit down and eat eggs or a steak because I know the truth. I will spend every day of my life spreading the truth.

David Bernazani (not verified)
on Jan 7, 2014

I find it misleading that livestock industry supporters here claim that they provide "essential" products. As a vegan of over 7 years, I have neither eaten animals nor worn ther skins. There is absolutely nothing "essential" about meat, leather, wool or fur. There are better choices, and only people who profit from the misery of animals claim otherwise.

LK (not verified)
on Jan 18, 2014

I just wanted to know the truth about that awful video. I don't own any Ugg boots but I eat meat and make no apologies for it. If animals are to be slaughtered I would think those that do it would want it to be as humanely as possible and that none of the animal be wasted. Both sides here make good points but one new question I have is what is used to make all those man made products and what if any effect does that have on our planet?

Corrie DiStefano (not verified)
on Jan 22, 2014

While Uggs do use skins from the meat market, the counterfeit boots use skins of the raccoon dog in China and those animals are not treated humanely. China is disgusting when it comes to animal cruelty. Boycott China not Uggs. Boycott China and the other Asian countries as they use horrific means to skin an animal. I buy second hand before buying anything, anything made in china. Supporting them supports species loss too, such as rhinos and elephants, tragic. Carry on or change where you spend your dollars.

Lisa S. (not verified)
on Aug 16, 2014

You are absolutely right about China. The entire country is one giant, stinking factory, spewing out billions of products made as cheaply as possible. But the truth is that it is not just China. I have seen numerous videos of animal cruelty in the farming industry going on in all parts of the world. I think the farmers who claim these inhumane practices are not taking place in factory farms should be as outraged as the rest of us by these videos, but instead they get defensive. Yes, boycott "Made in China", but also keep your animal consumption/use to a minimum in general to help take some pressure off of an industry designed to kill animals.

john z (not verified)
on Jan 23, 2014

Please ! people are actually going to look to the beef industry for factual data on UGGS are you kidding me ? meat industry is killing our planet being the second largest producer of greenhouse gas do you really want to take their word for debunking the ugg story ? UGGs aren’t removing the wool from the sheep humanely. They are actually removing the SKIN with the WOOL. UGGs are made from the skin of sheep and, therefore, the sheep are killed to make them....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.

Not your business (not verified)
on Jul 18, 2014

This article is a load of bs made to hide the truth about animal cruelty! I know better than to trust articles like this!

Lisa S. (not verified)
on Aug 16, 2014

I concur. This article is garbage along with many of the comments made by the Big Ag supporters.

TLB (not verified)
on Sep 15, 2014

So....I work for the UGGAustralia company. There is an extensive part of our training dedicated to the humane treatment of the animals. All our sheepskin/fur/hide is a byproduct, as stated in the article. There are counterfeit uggs, and we CANNOT guarantee the treatment of the animals that those are made from. If it is a legitimate UGGAustralia boot then they are not raised just the be killed for their hide. We have a specific disclaimer on our website dedicated to informing our customers that animal welfare is one of our highest priorities. There are people that are hired specifically to go to these establishments to find out if there is inhumane conditions or practices. UGGAustralia has even reported certain places as being inhumane. This is coming from me, an UGGAustralia worker. If it is UGGAustralia it has to be from a factory in pristine condition and has to be a byproduct that otherwise would have been discarded and trashed/burned.

Melissa (not verified)
on Jan 2, 2015

I am searching for the part where you debunk misconceptions. I say this with respect, but simply saying Uggs are made humanely does not make it so. Can you kindly provide evidence?
I avoid all animal products to begin with. It just makes life more simple to know you are not unwittingly supporting torture. But even though I do not wear Uggs, I still have a strong attraction to hearing truth of the matter. Thanks!

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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