Patagonia has adopted a new wool sourcing standard, saying that it amounts to the world's most stringent criteria for animal welfare and responsible land management. The Patagonia Wool Standard was developed in response to concerns over animal welfare, which led Patagonia to quit buying wool from one of its suppliers in South America last year. In an eloquent blogpost, the company discusses its dismay about images of “ill treatment” of animals and ensuing investigations and exchanges to come up with suitable standards over the last months. Patagonia says its standard was built on the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) launched by the Textile Exchange over the summer but goes above and beyond the RWS for animal welfare. Patagonia says its standard includes special animal welfare provisions covering transportation and off-farm slaughter; training in compassionate handling and avoiding shearing injuries, acceptable age ranges for castration and tail docking; and consistent availability of food and water. The group says its standard also goes beyond the RWS in auditing, which is to be conducted at the shearing and lambing stages. Patagonia adds that its approach to responsible land management includes the RWS' strong provisions, pertaining to grasslands and other biotic communities where sheep may be raised, including biodiversity protection, soil management, and pesticide and fertilizer use.