We need to understand where our sheepskin originates from to avoid areas known for animal rights abuses, ensure that we are sourcing from reputable suppliers, and ask those suppliers to certify compliance with our policies.
There are two kinds of sheep farmers: farmers that raise sheep for their wool and farmers that raise sheep for food. The sheepskin used in UGG products come from farmers who raise sheep primarily for food.
The cycle works like this: the meat industry purchases animals from a farmer, the tanneries purchase hides directly from the meat processing facilities, and we buy directly from those tanneries. For the farmer, approximately 98% of the value of the sheep is derived from selling the meat, and 2% is derived from the sheepskin itself*.
In short, the key challenge is influencing farm-level activities when there is not a direct relationship with the farmer.
*According to the American Sheep Industry Association