Wool is Cruel!

As we near November, warm sweaters, cozy socks, and fuzzy boots are all the rage. When imagining how wool is obtained, an idyllic pasture and gentle shearing often come to mind. However, the reality is much darker and crueler. Whenever animals are exploited for their bodies, they are bound to suffer.

Here are some common misconceptions about wool:

Sheep need to be shorn.

Naturally, sheep grow just enough wool to keep them warm in the winter, and then shed it in the springtime. Sheep are not meant to be humans’ wool machines! Sheep have evolved to grow just enough wool to suit their environments perfectly, without the need for human intervention.

However, humans breed sheep to grow unnaturally large and bulky coats in order to maximize profit. Merino sheep are bred to have wrinkly skin so they produce more wool per individual animal. Unlike wild sheep, they do not shed their fur during the warmer months. Because of this, the sheep often collapse and die of heat exhaustion.

Merino Sheep, bred with unnaturally thick fur and wrinkly skin.

Due to the dirty conditions these sheep are subjected to, flies lay eggs in the moist folds in their skin. The maggots hatch and eat the sheep alive. This is called flystrike. Instead of providing the sheep with cleaner living conditions, most sheep raised in Australia, the world’s main wool producer, endure a practice called mulesing. Lambs are restrained, their feet are bound, and strips of skin are cut from the tail region with no anesthetics. The scar tissue that grows in the mulsed area is less likely to harbor flies.

Forcefully restrained sheep being mulsed

These lambs have been mulsed.

Despite having endured this painful and stressful procedure, the sheep often die of infection in these exposed and bloody wounds, or still die of flystrike.

Shearing sheep is harmless, just like a haircut.

wool is not victimless

If shearing sheep is just like a haircut, I will certainly avoid visiting the hair stylist! Workers who shear the sheep are paid by the volume, motivating them to work as quickly as possible and disregard the welfare of the animals. Workers often sit on the sheep’s heads and necks, pinning them down as the sheep struggle to free themselves. Being aggressively restrained is very terrifying to these gentle prey animals! Workers often violently punch, kick, and stab sheep. Their haste in shearing the struggling sheep results in gaping wounds, which are crudely sewn up with a needle and thread and no anesthetics. Strips of skin are often sliced off the sheep along with the wool. When this brutal and stressful ordeal is over, the sheep are kicked down a chute. Many sheep die in the shearing process.

This is me after a haircut. I consented to donating my hair to be used to make a wig:

haircut

This is a sheep after being shorn. She did not give consent for people to take her fur:

Clearly, shearing sheep is NOT the same as a harmless haircut!

The sheep raised for wool die of natural causes.

After sheep’s wool production declines, wool producers maximize their profit by exporting the animals to be slaughtered. They are loaded onto ships and trucks and shipped long distances without food and water.ย  Once they reach their destination, they are held in crowded feedlots. Many die during this stressful transportation process and holding period.

Sheep packed tightly into a truck.

Sheep awaiting slaughter in a dusty, crowded feedlot in Qatar.

The sheep are often transported to countries with few regulations to protect them from inhumane slaughter. Those who survive the grueling transport and feedlots are faced with a terrifyingly cruel and brutal death.

As you can see, wool is cruel! A cute sweater or pair of boots is NOT worth the lifetime of torture, pain, and suffering these sweet and gentle animals are forced to endure. Plus, there are plenty of stylish clothes that are cruelty free! Before you buy something, always check the label. You can often find it inside the neckline of the garment or sewn into the side. It only takes a moment, but saves lives!

IMG_20141019_012306616_HDR

The label inside of my favorite fleece jacket from Aeropostale

Look for items labeled faux, acrylic, nylon, man-made, cotton, polyester, fleece, and synthetic. Avoid item labeled wool, Merino, Angora, rabbit hair, suede, silk, down, or leather.ย  Your favorite stores such as American Eagle, H&M, Forever 21, and many others carry plenty of vegan clothes!

IMG_20141019_012646532

Vegan sweaters come in a huge variety of styles and colors. Here are a few of my favorites!

If you already have wool in your closet, there is no need to throw it away. Just be sure to always purchase cruelty-free clothing from now on. If you no longer feel comfortable wearingย  woolen clothing, you can donate it to charity or to a friend.

So give sheep something to celebrate about and always Go Faux!

Further Resources:

PETA’s international wool expose: http://investigations.peta.org/australia-us-wool/

More about Mulesing: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/wool-industry/mulesing/

Wool Alternatives: http://www.peta.org/living/fashion/alternatives-wool/

Best,

Leila

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Wool is Cruel!

    • Australia is the world’s largest wool provider, and mulesing and violent shearing is common practice there, though less cruel farms do exist. When you purchase a garment from a store, there is no way to know whether it came from a sheep who was mulesed or not. Some stores such as H&M are refusing to purchase from providers who practice mulesing, but even so, it is impossible to know for sure that no sheep were injured in the shearing process. Since consumers are often blind to the treatment and ultimate fate of the sheep their woolen clothing comes from, it is best to err on the safe side and purchase vegan clothing. That way, you can be confident that it is 100% cruelty free! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reblogging my post! Though animal cruelty is difficult to see, it is so important to become informed about it. Becoming aware of the darkness in the world is the first step to making a difference. Though one can feel helpless against the tremendous cruelty in the world, we must continue fighting for the animals, because we are their only hope. โค

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you found this post eye-opening. It is sad that people put animals through such cruelty just because they want to make clothing out of their wool, when there are plenty of cruelty-free options we could use instead. I hope more people realize that wool is cruel and stop buying it! Thank you so much for checking out my post! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

    • The wool industry is very cruel! I hate how consumers are always blinded from the reality of where products come from. If people knew that obtaining wool is nothing like a haircut, I am sure the majority would stop buying it.

      Like

    • Pretty much every clothing store should carry some non-wool items. My favorite is American Eagle. Their sweaters are super warm and high quality, and the majority are vegan. I also own sweaters from Macy’s H&M, Forever 21, PacSun, and thrift stores. You can always check out the vegan options at your favorite stores online before making the trip. The materials information should be listed in each product’s description. Hope this helps!

      Like

  1. I knit/crochet a lot, and I’ve definitely noticed 100% acrylic wools (that’s all I use) are improving in texture and are less itchy than they used to be. Hopefully soon it’ll be considered too expensive to use sheep at all x

    Like

  2. Find a responsible shepherd (few and far between these days) and he will be equally as appalled at what goes on in the industry. Someone who rightly looks at his animals as his livelihood would never treat them with anything but respect. INDUSTRY is the real culprit here, the largeness and complexity of a for-profit corporation using wool and mutton as their wealth building vehicles leaves no room for respect for even human life and human working conditions, let alone animal life and conditions. Life should not be looked at as a wealth building vehicle, but a blessing. Find a farmer who believes this and you will be proud to buy their wool.

    Like

    • The high demand for animal products at a low price these days has resulted in treating animals like nothing more than machines. Though smaller, less cruel farms do exist, they are definitely hard to come by. It is often impossible to know the treatment of the animals a woolen product came from when purchasing clothing in a store. Even if I knew a farmer was obtaining cruelty-free wool, I personally still would not purchase it because I believe that wool belongs to the sheep and not us. Since we cannot ask the sheep for permission to take their wool, and we do not require wool for survival, I choose to respect the sheep’s right to keeping their wool for their own purposes. Plus, I fear that even these sheep may be slaughtered later in life. However, if others find a way to purchase cruelty-free wool and avoid cruelly obtained animal products, I would not argue with their choices. Thank you for your input on this issue!

      Like

  3. mike and brandy says:

    Reblogged this on My Omer of Manna and commented:
    Great shocking and awakening article. Even if one is not vegan, vegetarian or even particularly empathic to animal rights… This is a wake up call for what we are willing to accept just to have a warm sweater or jacket for winter.
    I agree. Go Faux for Fall. Then Wool Free for winter.
    -mike

    Like

    • Thank you for reblogging my post! There is no need for us to purchase animal-based garments, when there are plenty of plant based alternatives sold in the same stores! I hope more people come to realize the cruelty in the wool industry and stop supporting it.

      Like

  4. blushingbiddies says:

    Thank you for writing this article! ever since going CF over a year ago I realized I should be avoiding wool but this article told me EXACTLY why- really eye-opening.

    Like

    • Thank you! I am glad my post helped you! When using animals for any products, whether it be food, clothing, or for experimenting on, it is impossible to avoid abusing them. And when saving them can be as simple as reading a label, why not? โค Thank you for shopping animal-free! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s