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In an ideal world, the production of wool would not cause any harm to sheep. The process of shearing the thick wooly fur off the sheep in the summer time, is often equated to getting a buzz cut, but is this really what the experience of sheep in the wool industry is like? With most other industrialized processes involving animals, the answer is no.

In fact, sheep in the wool industry are bred to have a coat that is so thick they become more prone to heatstroke and there are a number of other alarming practices carried out by the industry. According to PETA, nearly three million sheep have to endure the process of live export to be brought to wool facilities, every year.  Sheep travel far distances, crammed together in deplorable conditions, but that is not where the horror ends for them.

A new investigation by PETA into the “humane” wool industry in the U.S. and Australia reveals the incredible cruelty that is enacted on sheep. Ninety percent of the world’s Merino wool comes from sheep in the U.S. and Australia. The investigation looked into 19 shearing sheds in Australia and 14 ranches in the United States. The results are nothing short of revolting.

In many instances, workers were documented abusing animals, punching and kicking sheep, even hitting them with hammers, or pinning sheep down and twisting their necks until they broke – all in the process of violently shearing them for their fur.

While shearing does not need to be a violent or cruel process, as this article explains, shearers are usually paid by the sheep, not by hour, meaning there is even further incentive to manhandle and abuse sheep who won’t sit still out of fear.

PETA has called on state and local authorities to file criminal charges of animal abuse, but in the meantime, Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, advises “shoppers around the world to reject cruelty to animals—and that means never buying wool.”

Click here for photos and broadcast coverage here.

Image source: Eugenio Hansen/Wikimedia Commons

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0 comments on “New PETA Investigation Reveals Cruelty of the Wool Industry”

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4 Years Ago

I will never understand how people can be this cruel to animals. I\'m glad PETA exposed this because it\'s so easy to think, "Well, sheep have to be sheared anyway, so wool is fine." I get that, but not when cruelty like this is going on.

4 Years Ago

Such horrific cruelty and for all for a product that no one even needs. There are plenty of humane fabrics, including cotton, nylon, and polyester, but wool is clearly not one of them. Nothing can justify animal abuse and this practice is completely pointless and unnecessary. Why choose to support such cruelty when we have the option to be kind?

Suzanne Carlson
4 Years Ago

No one needs wool other than sheep. It\'s such a simply thing to do: Don\'t buy clothing made from the skins and/or coats of animals.

10 Jul 2014

much better to buy clothing made with petrochemicals with all the attendant environmental/animal rights issues or maybe cotton which has a terrible water and carbon footprint and is often grown/picked with slave labour..

all of those choices are less sustainable and worse for environment, animals, and humans.

nor is there a lot of abuse in wool production and what there is can and must be addressed.

4 Years Ago

Hats off to PETA for exposing this horrific abuse. People are appalled when they learn that sheep in the wool industry are punched, stomped on, beaten, and worse. It just goes to show that whenever animals are treated as commodities—instead of the thinking, feeling beings they are—abuse is sure to follow. Stopping this cruelty is as simple as choosing from the many non-wool sweaters and scarves that are available everywhere.

11 Jul 2014

me neither. how can you possibly make any money if you mistreat your animals so badly that they are sick or die?
these wool producing farmers must be crazy, or destitute.
or maybe this is wildly exaggerated!?!

Patricia Moore
4 Years Ago

Thank you, PETA, for raising awareness about this horribly cruel industry. I hope everyone who sees PETA\'s video footage will shun wool and choose animal-friendly fashions instead.


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