Iconic Department Store Smith & Caughey’s Bans Alpaca Wool Following PETA Exposé

For Immediate Release:

10 June 2020

Auckland’s Oldest Department Store Makes the Compassionate Move After Viewing Eyewitness Investigation

Auckland – Following a first-of-its-kind PETA video exposé of the alpaca wool industry, Auckland’s oldest department store, Smith & Caughey’s, has made the compassionate decision to remove all alpaca wool from its stores and put in place a policy against its sale.

The decision comes after PETA provided the New Zealand retailer with video footage of workers at Mallkini – the world’s largest privately owned alpaca farm in Peru, responsible for 80% of the global production of alpaca wool – holding struggling, crying alpacas by the ears as they were roughly shorn with electric clippers, causing some to vomit out of fear.

“We applaud Smith & Caughey’s for its swift and compassionate decision to ban alpaca fibre from its stores,” said PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “Very soon after viewing the footage of egregious cruelty towards these gentle animals, the department store responded with a policy against alpaca wool, an ethical and eco-friendly move that we hope will inspire others to follow suit.”

The recent investigation found that workers at Mallkini slammed alpacas – some of whom were pregnant – onto tables, tied them to a medieval-looking restraining device, and pulled hard, nearly wrenching their legs out of their sockets. The quick, rough shearing left the animals cut up and bleeding from deep wounds, which were sewn up without adequate pain relief.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – notes that in addition to causing gentle alpacas immense suffering, the production of alpaca wool is also terrible for the planet. The Higg Materials Sustainability Index ranked alpaca wool as the second most environmentally damaging material after silk, noting that it’s six times as harmful as polyester and more than four times as damaging as modal, viscose, rayon, lyocell, acrylic, and other vegan materials.

Smith & Caughey’s joins a growing number of fashion retailers and labels around the world that have turned their back on Alpaca, with Esprit moving to phase out the wool immediately after viewing the investigation footage. Gap Inc. (which owns Banana Republic, Athleta, and other brands) and H&M Group (which owns eight brands) have cut ties with Mallkini’s parent company, the Michell Group, which is the leading exporter of alpaca fibre.

Photos of the investigation are available here, and broadcast-quality footage is available here. PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.

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