Probably the least likely fashion material we would assume would involve harming another being. Wool.
Sheep are gentle individuals who, like all animals, feel pain, fear, and loneliness. Some people might say that shearing an animal for its fur isn’t cruel because there’s no pain involved and that sheep seem to even enjoy the shear every once and a while. And while this may be true in certain cases, it is important to note that the majority of wool we buy comes from large industries where profit is above welfare. Because there’s a market for their fleece and skins and money is involved, they’re treated as nothing more than wool-producing machines.
If they were left alone and not genetically manipulated, sheep would grow just enough wool to protect themselves from temperature extremes. The fleece provides them with effective insulation against both cold and heat. Sheep are often bred or genetically manipulated in order for them to grow overlapping skin (to increase surface area) which, in turn, results in more wool production. This, in theory, seems harmless. However, the reality is that the flaps of skin is often extremely uncomfortable and sometimes painful for the sheep.
Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without any regard for the welfare of the sheep. This hasty and careless shearing leads to frequent injuries, and workers use a needle and thread to sew the worst wounds shut—without any pain relief. Strips of skin—and even teats, tails, and ears—are often cut or ripped off during shearing.
PETA’s investigations in Australia—the world’s top wool exporter—found that shearers beat, kicked, and threw terrified sheep. ”A PETA investigation of more than 30 shearing sheds in the U.S. and Australia uncovered rampant abuse. Shearers were caught punching and stomping on sheep, in addition to hitting them in the face with electric clippers and standing on their heads, necks, and hind limbs. One shearer was seen beating a lamb in the head with a hammer. Another even used a sheep’s body to wipe the sheep’s own urine off the floor. And yet another shearer repeatedly twisted and bent a sheep’s neck, breaking it.” Below, is the video revealing the abuse.
-The Vegan Lily