Wool Pawlitics

Sheep have always been depicted as herd animals with little intellectual ability. They are portrayed as dumb animals that graze and meander the hills aimlessly, until someone comes along to gracefully and painlessly cut off their wool. However, PETA exposes the truth behind the wool industry, and it is far from the peaceful picture we imagine. PETA has captured horrifying images of sheep’s body parts getting sheared right off with their wool, without any pain killer or anesthetic. These animals go through terrorizing and horrifying treatment, and come out after traumatized with missing limbs and gaping wounds.

This video shows the gruesome treatment of one particular sheep as it is being sheered. The sheep suffers terribly, having an entire chunk of it’s stomach sheered off, and then has to endure it being sewn back together by the same hand that sheered it off.

This is an unacceptable way to treat an animal that is giving part of itself to keep someone warm. There are many warm synthetics that can replace the need to wear real wool, so there is no reason that wool should 1. be necessary in society today and 2. be mistreated this way.

The wool industry treats these animals as thoughtless creatures that are bred for the use of humans, not giving any thought to caring for these animals as if they had minds of their own. Researchers at top Universities in England have shown that sheep are highly intellectual animals, and that just like humans, they are able to feel anxiety, stress, and isolation. These emotions are tied directly to the experiences they have with sheering, and this kind of treatments greatly traumatizes the sheep. They have shown signs of depression as well, like hanging their heads, or not engaging in actions that would otherwise make them happy.

It seems that the only option towards helping the sheep in the wool industry is to become an active voice in the retail market, using the power of the dollar to push retailers into steering clear of wool providers that treat sheep this way. In fact, PETA helped Patagonia do just this, when they exposed that their supplier was not treating animals in an ethical and humane way. With the pressure and spotlight on them, and Patagonia lovers now burning anything Patagonia in their closet, they cut ties with the supplier (Olvis 21 from Argentina) until they could be assured that the wool was harvested humanely.

But, PETA has urged them to be prepared for the reality that as they dive deeper into the wool industry, they may find that the industry in and of itself is just simply not an ethical industry. And to comment on that word, ‘Ethical’, as well as other promising words such as ‘sustainable’, ‘responsible’, and ‘humane’, PETA has shown that companies will throw these words around in order to appease their customers, not looking into the realities of these words and the meaning of these words entails for the animals that wool comes from.

Surprisingly, the very same manufacturer of wool that Patagonia has now dropped in fact called themselves ‘sustainable’ before PETA exposed their not so sustainable practices. The light that has been shed on the industry’s need to appear ethical but not practice ethical treatment of animals will hopefully end in either the better treatment of these animals, or the shut down of the wool industry at large.

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2 thoughts on “Wool Pawlitics”

  1. It is so nice to see another supporter of animal rights. I personally don’t own any wool products but as you mentioned in your blogpost, there is no need to own wool when there are other options available. An NBC article goes into to detail on how sheep are harmed during the sheering process, just as your post did. To me, this is an unacceptable practice, especially since wool isn’t a necessity in the fashion industry. There are plenty of great alternatives and this poor treatment of animals is enough to stop me from ever buying wool, as well as discouraging others from doing so.

    I was researching online and it seems to me that there might be humane ways of sheering wool off. The problem is that there is no one to monitor the company in this process on a day-to-day basis. I found this website in which features humanely obtained wool as well as alternatives to wool products. Here is the website if you want to check it out: http://www.hearts.com/ecolife/sheep-leap-joy-crueltyfree-wool/.

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  2. A shocking glimpse into what is unfortunately often overlooked. I’d like to begin with a disclaimer: While it’s not to say that I turn a blind eye to animal rights messages, I’ve never actively protested regarding matters of animal curtly. However, this post struck a cord. The most infuriating aspect of the situation is that, sure, you hear about cattle, pig, or chicken cruelty – victims of meat slaughter that without fail ends in death for the sake of a Sunday roast – but I’m ashamed to say I have been exposed to the cruelty behind the industries that don’t in fact kill…but instead (as it appears here) go almost as far but still keep the animal alive. What’s worse…? I’m against the inhumane and senseless slaughtering of animals as much as the next person but after reading this, I’m more inclined to argue that at least the slaughtered animals are eventually put out of their misery. Here, it’s a different story. These sheep are repeatedly put through mill with each sheering episode and to no surprise, “traumatized with missing limbs and gaping wounds.” I fear the very fact that the process doesn’t “kill” the animal (though nearly…) passes as an excuse for these operations to run under the radar. It’s time to speak out against the repeated abuse and merciless work of these sheep sheering mills. It’s time to stop pouring our money down the throats of clothing stores and manufactures who commit such crimes. We have unlimited capabilities to change our own lives with technology and innovation, why can’t we lean some of that care and effort to the lives of these innocent animals. We have the potential – it’s all in motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

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