A US court has thrown out a case brought by animal activists against a wool shoe maker based on whether sheep were happy or not.
The claims centred on an advertising campaign by successful US-New Zealand shoe manufacturer Allbirds Inc. claiming its products were eco-friendly.
The New York animal welfare groups brought a class action against the public company claiming its advertising claiming sheep were happy was misleading.
Allbirds is now a billion dollar company and has in recent years formed a business relationship with Adidas.
It has built a foothold in an ultra-competitive shoe market based on its planet-friendly claims.
Judge Cathy Seibel of the Southern District of New York did not agree with the animal welfare case, and dismissed the lawsuit.
The court concluded the allegations were broad criticisms of the wool industry and not specific to Allbirds.
The activists, which included People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, continues to claim "sheep are routinely abused and mutilated for their wool".
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The two issues taken to court involved:
The "Live the good life" advertising campaign by Allbirds which depicted sheep as happy and living in "pastoral settings".
And, Allbirds' eco-friendly claims of wool being sustainable.
The activists claimed all sheep bred for wool are also slaughtered and sold for their meat which meant they could not be happy or "live the good life".
Nor did the court agree with claims wool for the Allbirds' products was sourced from farms using "inhumane practices".
Judge Seibel found the depictions of "happy" sheep in "pastoral settings" were "obviously intended to be humorous" and would not be understood as making a factual claim on which a reasonable consumer would rely.
Most of the claims aired in court are also being used to discredit Australian wool in some European markets.
According to the activists, if Allbirds had calculated the carbon footprint from sheep farming overall, as opposed to the carbon footprint generated only by its products, its environmental impact figures would be significantly higher.
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