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Marks & Spencer reverses ban on alpaca wool

By Rachel Douglass


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Alpaca. Credits: Unsplash.

British department store giant Marks & Spencer has made a U-turn on its decision to ban alpaca wool from its offering despite possible backlash from animal activists.

The retailer reportedly confirmed the move to The Telegraph, stating that the reversal came alongside the introduction of Textile Exchange’s Responsible Alpaca Standard (RAS), which it said provided the “confidence we need to start sourcing this fibre again”.

Marks & Spencer first initiated the ban back in 2020 following an investigation by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which had highlighted “concerns around the welfare of animals that are farmed to produce alpaca [wool]”.

In response, the company said it was in the process of phasing out alpaca yarn from “all future product developments”.

Now, however, in light of RAS, Marks & Spencer shifted its view, noting that the certification would be the “minimum standard for all alpaca fibre” in its products. The initiative allows alpaca farmers to apply for an assessment on factors such as animal welfare in order to receive an official certification.

It’s worth noting that since RAS’ launch, in 2021, PETA has criticised the standard, stating that it would “do nothing to stop” bad practices, while alleging that it also bears a number of “shortcomings” that bring to question its effectiveness.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Mimi Bekhechi, PETA’s vice president for the UK, Europe and Australia, said: “If M&S wants to stay on the high street and in the good graces of today’s conscientious shoppers, it must take the high road and ban alpaca wool – and all animal-derived clothing and accessories – from its stores. And that’s exactly what Peta is calling on it to do.”

Animal Rights
Marks & Spencer
Textile Exchange