If you’ve ever looked into cruelty-free clothing brands, you may have come across some using cruelty-free alpaca fur from Peruvian Andes Mountains. Alpacas spend their lives roaming freely in their natural habitat. Farmers gently shear the animals to use their soft, plush wool to create things like scarves, traditional Peruvian sweaters, blankets, alpaca slippers, alpaca stuffed animals and many other products.
Believe it or not, alpaca wool is one of the softest, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free textiles. If you’re new to the world of alpaca clothing, we’re answering common questions like is alpaca wool itchy, is alpaca fur ethical, what is baby alpaca, do you have to shear alpacas, are alpacas killed for their fur?
The first thing we should mentioned is the most common question,
What is alpaca wool called?
Alpaca wool or alpaca fur is called fleece or fiber. Many people still call it alpaca wool or alpaca fur which is still acceptable.
What is Baby Alpaca?
Baby alpaca is the very first shear from that animal. The fleece from the first cut is always the softest and most delicate. Keep in mind; baby alpaca doesn’t refer to the age of the alpaca itself.
How Is Alpaca Fur Sourced?
Often, cruelty-free clothing brands seek new textiles to create ethical garments. Cruelty-free alpaca hair is a favorite for its flexibility, durability, and feel. Alpaca is as soft as cashmere, and a traditional Peruvian sweater is more durable than a cashmere one.
So, are alpacas killed for their fur? Absolutely not. Alpacas have to be sheared once a year in the summertime. This ‘haircut’ doesn’t hurt or harm the animal. Farmers use animal-safe sheers to gently cut the alpaca hair, similar to when you bring your pet to the vet. That leads us to the question, is shearling cruelty-free? Yes, it is. Alpacas can overheat quickly, especially in the hot Peruvian sun during the summer. Pregnant alpacas are even at a higher risk of miscarrying if their fleece produces an overbearing amount of heat. Also, young alpacas can die from heatstroke if they don’t have their fur cut at least once a year.
Alpacas are primarily bred for their fleecy fiber, but the animals are a fundamental protein source for indigenous communities in the Andes, depending on the region. Just as we rely on beef and poultry in the US, some communities in Peru rely on Alpaca. Alpacas are never killed solely for their fur. Their meat and hair is used to help sustain indigenous families with basic necessities. Again, the animals are never explicitly killed for their wool. Cruelty-free alpaca wool can still come from an animal that was used for food. The fur is a byproduct to ensure nothing goes to waste.