Alpacas are celebrated through art and design around the world. Their distinctive look is known to most of us, but did you know how widely they are used in textiles and what suffering they face for clothing?
Alpacas are native to Peru and more than 80% of the world’s alpacas still live there. Alpaca wool is soft and lightweight, and it is considered a luxury fiber which is commonly used in high-end clothing, yarn, and blankets. Peru produces more than 4,500 tons of fiber annually and is said to be home to three million alpacas, although unofficial figures suggest this number is closer to six million.
During the shearing process, alpacas, who are prey animals with a natural flight response, suffer severe distress by being pinned to the floor and restrained while shorn. This is not only highly stressful for animals who otherwise have minimal, or even negative, contact with people, it can also inflict physical pain and injury as they struggle to escape. Shearers are often rushed and sometimes careless in their work, leaving alpacas cut and injured.
Often little to no veterinary care or pain relief is provided to injured or sick animals.
And as with many other species, Alpacas are also subject to mutilations, for example castration, without pain relief.
What are we doing?
We are working with fashion brands to help them source ethical products that haven’t involved harm to animals.
We are calling for a ban on painful shearing practices and a move towards humane solutions that involve trained shearers and restraint methods that don’t cause unnecessary stress and suffering.
And we are building a global movement of people who are taking the Wear it Kind pledge and demanding better for animals involved in the fashion industry.