Just as with dairy, we often don’t think about the animals we use who aren’t killed for our use as having particularly terrible lives when in reality, they very often have it worse off for not being killed.
I learned more about the practice of sheep shearing and also of mulesing shortly after I purchased a large woolen rug for my home last fall.
I knew wool came from shearing sheep of course, but I thought that getting that wool was a simple and painless process for the animal. I thought it might even be a good thing in that it would keep them cooler in hotter climes, when in reality, I learned that sheep in a natural setting do not grow more wool than they need.
When I learned how these sweet animals are treated in order for us to get wool, I vowed not to buy it anymore.
Mulesing, for those of you who don’t know, is a process done to remove the wool and cut off skin from the buttock areas of the sheep to prevent a disease called flystrike. It is often, if not usually, done without anaesthesia. The resulting pain can last for days.
Read more here about mulesing:
Though it continues to be practiced, it is not recommended by the RSPCA of Australia, who produce much of the wool we use. They recommend alternatives in this article:
I have also read horrific stories about sheep genitals or faces being shorn right off during shearing, stories which haunt me.
No clothing is worth that kind of suffering.