Published June 23, 2023 by .
Athletic brand Nike recently announced its commitment to using “responsible” wool in its products, but what does that really mean for animals? The brand merely adopted the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), which—unfortunately—is nothing but a humane-washing tactic that does nothing to protect sheep from exploitation and abuse.
Why Doesn’t the RWS Protect Animals?
There is no such thing as “cruelty-free,” “humane,” or “sustainable” wool. PETA has now released 14 exposés of 117 wool-industry operations on four continents revealing that sheep are mutilated and abused for their wool and sometimes even skinned alive. Patagonia—a company that has adopted the RWS—has been found to obtain wool from producers that violate these standards.
Speciesism is at the core of the issue here. Sheep used for their wool are seen as objects by the industry that profits off them, not as individuals with unique desires and a right to a life free of fear. Because the wool industry is inherently exploitative, no company policy can protect these animals from abuse.
What Can Nike Do to Protect Sheep Used for Wool?
If Nike truly wants to follow through on its commitment to protecting animals, the only thing it could do is drop wool altogether. Vegan materials are better for animals and the planet, and Nike has already used many innovative fabrics in its products.
Please Pledge Never to Buy Wool
As a consumer, you have the power to tell retailers you don’t want to see wool on their shelves. Always check the labels on sweaters, other garments, and blankets before buying them. For the sake of sheep and the environment, if a label says “wool,” please leave the item on the shelf.