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Wooly Awareness

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Miss Lady Vegan Miss Lady Vegan SA Posts: 20
1 6 May 2012
Hi All,
Just wanted to know vegans opinions on wool. I was explaining to friends that it's cruel - I mean how would u like to be taken and have ur head shaved without ur permission?
The argument back is of course; we live in Australia (a hot climate) its cruel not to shave them for wool.

Love, love, love

*Steph* *Steph* VIC Posts: 363
2 6 May 2012
Unfortunately through years of specific breeding to maximize wool growth, sheep do need to be shorn. If we don't support the industries though, less sheep will be bred and less will have to suffer as a result (as they all end up at the abs as well...)
I have a Merino and he gets shorn once a year and by the end of the year he needs it. With too much wool, he has trouble seeing (I clip around his eyes regularly anyway) and the weight of it is huge. I always get him done just before summer so he has a slight coat for it. I know some farmers who are shearing at the moment and I think that it truly cruel, going in to winter without their wooly jumpers on!!

VeganLove1 VeganLove1 VIC Posts: 2
3 6 May 2012
I care for two lovely sheep, and have cared for others in the past. Sheep DO need to be shorn.

However the industries that you buy wool from do not look after their sheep like 'pets'. The sheep are cared for on a monetary basis. They're often docked and mulesed with no painkillers. I was reading an actual veterinary article on the care of sheep, and EVERYTHING is based on money for the industry. Sick sheep are rarely treated, as this wastes money. Infections are treated by sticking a knife into the site to let it drain.
My mum once made a scarf from the wool of one of our pet sheep. There's nothing wrong with that. The wool isn't anywhere near the quality of shop-bought wool as this was grown on a happy sheep who did get dirty and did rub against things etc.

So it isn't really the shearing of the sheep which is cruel, but the way they are raised, handled, and treated.

Same with the whole, 'a chicken lays eggs anyway'. Yes, it does, but battery hen conditions are cruel.

Hope that makes sense and is helpful to you happy

Miss Lady Vegan Miss Lady Vegan SA Posts: 20
4 6 May 2012
Cheers Steph & VeganLove1 - very informative! Do you guys buy wool? Do u wear the wool you sheer from your own sheep?!
And do you know if I can support people/farmers like yourselves without comprimising my veganism? confused

*Steph* *Steph* VIC Posts: 363
5 6 May 2012
I don't buy wool products anymore. I haven't yet done anything with Beau's fleece but one day when the motivation is there I might make something. I know how to spin and knit. I have a feeling you would be hard pressed to find a producer who treats their animals as they deserve to be treated. Even some of the better, smaller farms I know, still sell their sheep to the abs once they have become unuseful. If you are desperate for wool you could contact places like Edgar's Mission where you know the animals are treated well but aren't a producer per say. But you still have to do something with it, like if you wanted a woolen jumper you have a big task! Haha! (I have been knitting for years and am still only good at scarves and slipper socks..)

Rowan011 Rowan011 WA Posts: 92
6 6 May 2012
As a vegan I would not buy anything with wool. Just went mattress shopping and most of the mattress's were using wool. The sheep's used for the wool would be kept in poor conditions and have a poor life knowing Australia and it's respect for farm animals!
So I made sure the one I bought had zero wool.

RaV3N RaV3N WA Posts: 2152
7 7 May 2012
Once I get a few acres and house some sheep of course they will be shorn and I would consider getting that wool spun and dyed and give it to my friends/family who knit.

My grandma has learnt to buy synthetic wool for me when she knits me stuff (like bed socks!!).

OinkMoo OinkMoo NSW Posts: 1340
8 7 May 2012
Like said above, sheep need to be shorn. I have 3 sheep i have rescued from diffrent situations and they get shorn in october becouse it is cold here in winter and boiling here in summer. They have nice wooly jumpers at the moment happy  My sheep are Wiltershire X Dorper ~Even though those 2 breeds shed there wool, my 3 dont seem to shed tongue ~

The main cruelty within the wool industry is Mulesing and ovb. the abs.
 Skin is sliced from the buttocks of lambs without anaesthetic to produce a scar free of wool, faecal/urine stains, and skin wrinkles.  Over 20 million merino breed lambs are currently mulesed each year.  Most will have their tail cut off and the males will be castrated (‘marked’) at the same time. Castrating can either be done by literally cutting the males testies out, put a plastic ring on the testies and they loose circulation and fall off or the testies are cut off!

Mulesing involves cutting a crescent-shaped slice of skin from each side of the buttock area; the usual cut on each side is 5 - 7cm in width and extends slightly less than half way from the anus to the hock of the back leg in length. Skin is also stripped from the sides and the end of the tail stump. This surgical procedure is usually done without any anaesthetic.

Hope that helps happy

..1 ..1 TAS Posts: 2265
9 7 May 2012
I've had sheep my entire life. And it's incredibly cruel not to shear them. I've seen sheep who had not been sheared in several years, and they spent every Summer screaming, they were just so hot, it was causing them severe distress.

Having pet sheep, and farming sheep are two completely different things. Farmed sheep are usually subject to mulesing, which is cutting the skin off their rears to avoid fly strike (the alternative to this is crutching), tail docking, where they use tight bands to cut off the circulation of the tail, this is extremely painful! Tail docking the incorrect way can also lead to prolapses, which are very common. And non surgical castration, which is done the same way as tail docking. I have seen tail docking and non surgical castration done to lambs many times. The pain and suffering they experience is indescribable. Some might say ear tagging is cruel, too.

Never buy wool, ever! Once sheep get to about 3 or 4 (if that) they're slaughtered because their wool quality begins to deteriorate. Farmers actually say that a sheep who is 5 or 6 is considered an old sheep. I've had sheep who have gotten to 17 years. People think sheep have short lives, but any well looked after sheep can out live a cat or a dog. In that respect, a sheep who was bred for meat and wool is killed before they're even half way through their lives.

Jane Jane SA Posts: 168
10 7 May 2012
I think most of the major points have been covered here - but there's also the million or so newborn lambs that die of exposure in the paddocks each year.
I used to see so many dead babies in the paddocks on the way to the ag college I used to attend.
And sometimes surrounding farmers would bring in the dead frozen lambs for the students to dissect - it was horrible and so so sad.
There's more info here (If you can stomach the mulesing pics - they're not pretty!) sad

But really there's so many alternatives to wool now that are easier to look after and feel better anyway

I haven't missed wool at all!  happy

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