Are IKEA Sheepskin Rugs Ethical?
The answer to that question varies widely over the internet and depends on how ethical it is defined. IKEA strives to be ethical and environmentally conscious, and that includes its sheepskin rugs. In fact, they have a faux sheepskin that has won an award from PETA.
Sheepskins are taken after an animal has been slaughtered, usually for meat. While some countries don’t like the taste of mutton, others do. Also, many pet foods use sheep meat in their recipes. Therefore, animals don’t go to waste.
There are a large number of people who don’t wish to use any animal products, including leather and fur. It is unlikely that they will consider any such use ethical, no matter what. That is why the question of ethics is a little harder to answer.
Some of those who don’t wish to use leather are willing to use wool. For them, the faux sheepskin may be the better choice. It is made from the wool, but it’s sewn to a cotton backing. That way, their conscious may be clear while they benefit from the wool.
Why is sheepskin so important? It has many uses. Most people think of it more as a rug, a means to keep the feet warm on a cold winter day. Some think of them as UGG boots. Yes, many are made from sheepskin although not all of them.
However, sheepskin has medical use as well. The lanolin found in the wool is an excellent remedy for fragile skin. Infants and the elderly are often told by doctors and/or nurses to use these products to prevent skin problems such as bed sores.
Lanolin can be gotten from wool, as well. However, it is not in as much abundance. It can be purchased in lotions, but is that any more ethical than using a sheepskin? Again, the question depends on what the definition of ethics is.
In some areas of the world, temperatures are so cold that the use of fur is more of a necessity than a choice. Animal furs are designed to keep the animal warm and that is especially true of sheep. In those countries, if we’re to ask about ethics, they would comment that one has to be alive to consider ethics.
So how do I define ethical? The animals should be well treated. Does IKEA do this? They say so, and I have no proof otherwise. All usable parts of the animal should be used. Does IKEA do this? Again, they say so. Do I think they are ethical? Probably, at least by my standards.
I have a relative who, if he were to profess a religion, would probably be a Jainist. He doesn’t wear leather shoes or a leather belt. He doesn’t eat meat. Would IKEA’s sheepskin products be considered ethical by him? Probably not. Maybe, the faux sheepskin, but I suspect even that is pushing it.
The answer to this question is not one that can be dictated by someone else. Use the standards you have for the ethical treatment of animals.