Warning: This article contains discussion of animal cruelty and/or graphic images
Wool, the very popular and versatile fabric, has an ugly truth behind it. Many purchase it believing sheep are simply shaved and left to roam free on these farms; this is not the case. This practice is not only cruel but unnecessary. All industries involving the use of fur and/or skin of an animal are inherently cruel.
When wool is taken there are multiple things that happen: sheep’s tails are cut, they’re castrated, and abused. It’s the unfortunate reality of the industry; a companies promise to “love” the animals isn’t guaranteed. Companies like UGG are immensely popular, especially during the winter months. Consumers tend to dissociate themselves from the process of creating the products. Although many consumers are becoming aware of the process, it’s still a growing issue. How can one educate the masses on such a large issue? Through social media thousands of activists have used their voices to spread awareness; hashtags such as #DontWearMe highlight the worst of the industry.
Whether it’s wool, leather, or skin/scales, it’s not taken in a “humane” way. In many fur factories, the animals are skinned alive, and when thats not the case, they’re trapped, confined in small cages, and abused. Conditions may vary depending on the location but overall they’re harsh. Minks, beavers, and muskrats are usually drowned; foxes and mink are put in small cages. It’s important to note one misconception many have about obtaining wool.
Do sheep have to be sheared? The answer is more than a yes or no. Before becoming domestic they would’ve naturally shed their coat but, according to www.veganviews.org.uk, “in Australia, domestic sheep are shorn in spring, after lambing, before they would naturally shed their winter coats. To get all the shearing done in time, it starts before it is healthy for the sheep.” Even though they now need shearing, in most cases, it’s not done safely.
They go through a process known as “mulesing” it’s defined as “a surgical procedure during which the skin around the breech and tail area of Merino sheep is removed. It is usually carried out on young sheep before they reach six months of age.” This is done without numbing before or after. Large strips of flesh are cut off around their tails then, they’re castrated. “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” (www.veganpeace.com).
Not funding these companies makes a difference; when enough people boycott and question their morals they’re forced to acknowledge the issue. However, there are many who try to justify the process. In hopes to make an impact it’s essential to boycott, educate, and learn.