Wool is cruel #wool #sheep #knitting
Let me tell you something. I OWN sheep. No, we don’t personally use their wool, but they do have to be shaven in the summer because of the heat. We also know SEVERAL families who do own sheep for the purpose of their wool. They are people specifically trained to sheer them. They do NOT end up cut up like that if the right person is doing the work.
THANK GOD. I absolutely hate people who think this. Jesus Christ you are all stupid.
Yeah no. Sheep can easily die from heat stroke or exhaustion if not shorn. If properly shorn it causes absolutely no harm or pain to the animal.
As someone who has been educated to the wool trade, (and eventually must work with it as a fashion/tailor) I have to call bullshit on this.
The people who breed sheep for their wool would not injure their goddamn flocks. Because then there wouldn’t be an industry about wool, because it would be a trade that has constant losses.
So yeah, don’t fucking try to press this idea.
My grandmother had a sheep farm. She had a rather nice sized flock and she sheered them in the summer every year. NONE of her sheep died because of this. She took the wool and made blankets and yarn from it. Wool is a renewable resource!!! you can get wool off sheep nearly the whole of their natural lifespans. The only reasons her sheep died was from a coyote got one or old age. She never even butchered any for food. She raised them and bread them because she wanted to take care of them and have wool to make things out of. I can’t say the same for the lambs she sold in the spring to other farmers in the area (Including my neighbors who still have a small flock that are descendants from Grandma’s sheep) so that her flock didn’t get too big for her to handle alone. But she took good care of her flock until it became too difficult for her to go out to the barn and the pasture and do all that hard work every day. My grandma is a sweet, loving old lady with a large fondness for sheep. I don’t like this post indirectly implying that she is a heartless sheep-killer out for wool.
Okay, first of all, there is a huge difference between industrial wool farming, and having a few sheep in your field that run around and get a haircut now and then.
Most wool bought from shops are from Australia - the most commonly used sheep there is called the merino.
This beautiful animal is another example of how humans have selectively bred domestic creatures in order to exploit them. Many even die of heat exhaustion before they get a chance to be shorn.
The Merino sheep have a series of folds in the skin that serve no purpose except to make them ‘woolier’. These folds cause a lot of problems as bacteria and dirt collect in them, which can cause skin conditions, become infected, or are rubbed raw and begin to bleed. This attracts flies to lay their eggs in the cuts, causing flystrike, and they proceed to eat the animal alive.
Mulesing and other procedures
Not only is this horrible in itself (an animal has basically been made sicker purely for profit - so more wool can be harvested), but in a ridiculous attempt to PREVENT flystrike, workers actually cut off skin around the backside of the animal, leaving it bloody and exposed. This is called mulesing. This is supposed to remove the wool and the folds of the skin around the bum, so that it doesn’t collect with faeces and therefore encourage flies. However not only is this often done without anaesthetic (no industry would waste money medicating these animals), but it actually causes problems. Huge, exposed, raw bloody wounds are a beacon for parasites and bacteria. Many animals, if they survive the shock of this process (it is usually done when they are just baby lambs), die from bloodloss or subsequent infection. Humane alternatives to treat flystrike do exist.
Other procedures performed without anesthesia include punching a hole in the ears of lambs several weeks after birth, docking their tails and castrating the males. The castrations are done when the male lambs are between 2 and 8 weeks old, with the use of a rubber ring to cut off their blood supply.
Another major issue is how the wool is harvested. Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without regard for the welfare of the sheep. “[T]he shearing shed must be one of the worst places in the world for cruelty to animals … I have seen shearers punch sheep with their shears or their fists until the sheep’s nose bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off …”
Sheep are sheared in the spring, just before they would naturally shed their winter coats. Because shearing too late would mean a loss of wool, most sheep are sheared while it is still too cold. An estimated one million sheep die every year of exposure after premature shearing.
Holding pens and live export
When the wool production of sheep declines, they are sold for slaughter. Millions of lambs and sheep are exported for slaughter each year. In Australia they have to travel long distances before reaching very crowded feedlots, where they are held before being loaded onto ships. Many sheep die in the holding pens.
Those who survive the holding pens are packed tightly into ships. Lambs born during the trip are often trampled to death. A lot of sheep get injured or die.
Animals shipped live from Australia can be confined on vessels for up to three weeks – that is 504 consecutive hours.
- Sheep are transferred from a pasture-based diet to concentrated pellets – a change which some animals reject. Failure to eat can lead to salmonellosis and even death, with around half of sheep mortalities occurring this way.
- Animal waste generates ammonia gas which, in high concentrations on board ships, can irritate the animals’ eyes, nasal cavities and respiratory tracts, resulting in lacrimation (crying), coughing and nasal discharge.
- Tens of thousands of animals die every year in transit, yet the live export industry argues that it is achieving good welfare outcomes because these animal deaths are a small proportion of the total shipped. The fact remains that as many as 20,000 sentient animals die at sea from disease or injury each year. Their deaths are no less tragic or unethical because their peers survived.
In Europe they have to travel long distances in tightly packed trucks without food or water. They are frequently exported to countries with minimal slaughter regulations and where the sheep are often conscious while being dismembered.
So before you claim that vegans are all blithering fools who look at one photo of a badly-shorn sheep and assume wool is bad, maybe open your eyes and look beyond your granny’s cosy farm or the wooly little sheep you see in the fields near you. Because we are talking about a large-scale industry that houses animals in much the way that factory-farmed meat animals are treated and killed, for the sake of a wooly jumper.
Just because there *are* more humane ways of doing things, that absolutely does not mean it is all done that way. Do some research and stop pretending that large corporations care about their animals as much as you might, especially when money is involved.