Alicia Silverstone has publicly denounced leather, fur, and down Now, the actress, bestselling author, and veganism advocate wants shoppers to know why she’d rather go naked than wear wool. In a new campaign for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Silverstone strips down in protest of the contentious fiber, which, despite its natural, minimally processed, biodegradable nature, has been pilloried in the past for contributing to widespread animal abuse on sheep farms. Shot by celebrity photographer Brian Bowen Smith, a billboard of Silverstone currently hangs just outside Times Square, at the intersection of 40th Street and Eighth Avenue, just before holiday-shopping season kicks into gear.
Silverstone says that sheep shearing is more than a simple haircut.
“The shearing isn’t like, ‘Oh let me just take your hair off because you need to give me your coat,” she says in in a video interview with PETA. “It’s just so fast, the shearing process. [The sheep are] cut, they’re harmed. They get very seriously wounded, and there’s no care for them when they’re wounded. It’s just, ‘Move on to the next.'”
“The shearing isn’t like, ‘Oh let me just take your hair off because you need to give me your coat,” Silverstone says. “[The sheep are] get very seriously wounded, and there’s no care for them when they’re wounded. It’s just, ‘Move on to the next.'”
Still, there are those who would insist #notallsheep.
British label Izzy Lane, for instance, uses only wool from its own flock, which comprises mostly of sheep that have been rescued from slaughter.
Finisterre, a surf brand from the United Kingdom, has amassed a herd of endangered Bowmont sheep.
Speaking of which, after Patagonia was singled out in PETA’s exposé of lamb and sheep abuse in Argentina last August, the outdoor-apparel retailer developed a wool standard it says goes “above and beyond existing wool industry animal-welfare standards.”
Patagonia doesn’t side-step an issue many of us would prefer to ignore: Like down, wool is typically a byproduct of an animal that will ultimately be killed for its meat.
Fine-tuned with input from renowned animal scientist Temple Grandin, the standard assures sheep in the company’s supply chain of a “compassionate end of life, whether through on-farm or off-farm slaughter,” “reasonable” transportation times, and humane treatment by farm workers, including during shearing, castration, and other practices.
Naturally, PETA takes a harder line with its claim that “animals are not ours to wear,” and we’re fortunate to live in a time where recycled wool and other alternatives abound.
But if you’re ready to cut wool from your life, Silverstone is right there with you.
“Why not make that leap?” she asks. “Say, ‘I’m never going to buy wool again.'”