Written by Jeff Mackey
PETA has sent an urgent letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard asking her to put a stop to cruel live exports after tens of thousands of sick sheep shipped from Australia to slaughter in the Middle East were left stranded aboard their vessels, struggling to survive in sweltering weather after being turned away by officials in Bahrain and Kuwait. One ship remained in the waters off Bahrain for more than a month before reportedly unloading the animals in Pakistan for sale to an unidentified buyer.
© Compassion in World Farming From the moment their journey begins, sheep are kept in miserable conditions.
Live Export Means Dead Sheep
Many people and companies have joined PETA's boycott of Aussie wool after learning about the cruelty of mulesing, a procedure in which young lambs have huge chunks of skin and flesh cut from their backsides, often without being given any painkillers. But there's another important reason to shed wool: Every year, around 3 million discarded sheep are packed onto ships to face their deaths in North Africa or the Middle East so that the wool industry can make even more money off the animals.
Many of the sheep starve to death, are trampled, or become ill and die en route to their final destinations. The grueling journey can last several weeks through all weather extremes, with sheep confined amid their own waste on ships that hold up to 100,000 animals. Conditions are hot and cramped—the perfect environment to spread diseases, such as the outbreaks of scabby mouth that caused these two ships to be turned away.
© Compassion in World FarmingThe sheep are crammed together so tightly, many are unable to reach food and water troughs.
Sheep who survive the journey are subjected to handling and slaughter methods upon their arrival that would be illegal back in Australia. The animals are kicked, beaten, prodded, and dragged off trucks and into slaughterhouses by their ears and legs, and some are left to die in barren feedlots in scorching-hot temperatures. Sheep have their legs tightly bound and are thrown into the trunks of cars, have their throats slit while they are still conscious, and are left to bleed to death in prolonged and agonizing ways.
What You Can Do
These are not the first cases in which sheep have been nightmarishly stranded—and unless live exports end, they won't be the last. Wool sales support this heartless and bloody industry, so save a sheep—don't buy wool products. Urge Australian Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig to end the live export of animals.
Following discussions with PETA, PUMA—one of the world's largest
designers and developers of sports footwear, apparel, and accessories—has
pledged never to use animal
fur, wool that comes from mulesed (i.e., mutilated) Australian sheep, or exotic-animal skins. How appropriate that a company named after one of nature's most beautiful
animals would help protect so many others!
Photo: Nick Saglimbeni for SlickForceStudio|Hair and makeup: Glenn Nutley for Celestine Agency|Body art: Nelly Rechhia for Aim Artists
For help in making animal-friendly choices, check out PETA's
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Martina Navratilova is no stranger to
winning, and we think she could soon have a victory under her dancing shoes, too, on season 14 of Dancing With the Stars.
tennis titan's determination has served her well both on the court and off.
Rallying against cruelty to animals, she has been working with PETA since 1995,
when she starred with a
turkey friend in our "Live and Let Live" vegetarian campaign.
then, Martina has helped with fur giveaways at homeless shelters, criticized
Australia's live export
and mulesing of sheep, asked universities to
halt their cruel "gay
sheep" experiments, criticized Atlanta
Pride for holding a noisy
party at an aquarium, and much more.
never been one to step lightly around important issues. She saves her fancy
footwork for the tennis court—or the dance
her in action tonight on Dancing With the
Stars at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
It never hurts to
brush up on answers to questions about animal issues—even seasoned protesters can
get a stumper from passersby now and then. See if you know the answers to the
following five questions that often pop up in discussions about animal rights:
What's wrong with eggs and dairy products
from "free-range" animals? There
are no standards for what "free-range"
means, so animals on such farms may still spend most of their time in filthy,
crowded sheds. Cruel practices such as searing off hens' beaks with a hot blade
and relegating male calves to veal crates occur, and when the animals stop producing enough eggs
or milk, they are sent to the same slaughterhouses as factory-farmed animals.
If we don't test on animals, what
other methods are available? Computer
simulations, cell cultures, human cadavers, and clinical trials are just some
of the many options researchers can use instead of animal testing to obtain more accurate and
davedehtre|cc by 2.0
What's wrong with wearing wool? In Australia—where most of the
world's merino wool comes from—sheep have been bred to have excessively wrinkled skin in order to
produce more wool. The wrinkles collect moisture, which attracts flies, so many
farmers resort to "mulesing," a gruesome and cruel procedure in which
huge chunks of skin and flesh are cut from lambs' backsides in a crude attempt
to prevent flystrike.
Should we put endangered animals
in zoos? Endangered
animals bred in zoos
are rarely released into the wild. Instead, they will spend their lives "warehoused"
in cramped enclosures that cannot come close to replicating their natural
habitats. As a result, many develop stereotypic behaviors such as pacing, rocking
from side to side, and self-mutilation. The only humane and effective way to combat
extinction is to protect animals' habitats.
What's wrong with using a choke
or prong collar on my dog? As
their names imply, choke
and prong collars inflict discomfort and pain, and they can severely injure dogs' necks and
throats. Far safer and more humane options are no-pull harnesses and halters
like the Easy Walk,
Halti, or even a standard figure-H harness. For cruelty-free dog-training tips, check
out celebrity dog trainer Tamar
Geller's video series for PETA.
Have another animal
rights question that you've always wondered about? Visit PETA's Frequently Asked Questions
Written by PETA
chic about mutilating sheep, and the Australian wool industry's
efforts to make the sweater set appeal to the younger set via its Facebook page
have hit a snag. After PETA asked its supporters to post photos from our "We ♥ Sheep" album,
show the unlovely cruelty behind the wool industry's "We ♥ Wool" page,
the page was shut down!
The wool industry is
notorious for mutilating millions of gentle lambs every year with "mulesing,"
a crude and cruel attempt to prevent a maggot infestation known as "flystrike."
Farmers cut huge chunks of flesh—not just skin—from lambs' backsides, usually
with little or no pain relief. In agony, the mulesed lambs scuttle sideways
like crabs, and the deep wounds can take weeks to heal, often becoming infected
before they do.
You can help save sheep's skin—and
get under the wool industry's skin—by
shopping for cruelty-free clothing
by Heather Faraid Drennan
wishes a very happy 60th birthday to rock legend Chrissie Hynde, who, when she isn't
using her beautiful voice to sing platinum hits, uses it to stop cruelty to
animals. From opening her vegan restaurant, VegiTerranean,
to having her hit song "I'll Stand by You" featured in a heartbreaking public service
announcement, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has spent decades
advocating for animals. Chrissie's actions for animals are too numerous to
list, but here are our six favorites:
know that animals would agree with us, Chrissie—you
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Update: After the Australian RSPCA was at last permitted to board the disabled ship, they discovered that at least 200 sheep had already died. The surviving sheep are being unloaded and sent to a feedlot, a process that is expected to take several days. Australia's agriculture minister acknowledged that hundreds of sheep had died but shrugged off the deaths as being "expected."
The following was first published on August 16th.
For the past week, 67,000 sheep have struggled to survive inside a crowded, filthy multitier ship in Australia. We're betting that not all of them have made it. The sheep―either discarded by the wool industry or bred for meat―were bound for slaughter in the Middle East, a grueling journey, but when the ship experienced mechanical problems, the captain turned the ship around and returned to Australia.
Now the ship is sitting at the dock, and the sheep have been left on board to suffer in cramped quarters, mired in their own waste. Eventually, one supposes, it will be back out to sea again for these unfortunate animals.
The voyage from Australia to the Middle East can take weeks, during which time many sheep commonly starve to death, are trampled, or become ill and die, their bodies tossed overboard. Upon arrival, the survivors are dragged from the ship, thrown into the backs of trucks, and driven to slaughter, where they have their throats cut while fully conscious.
Please urge Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to put a stop to the immense suffering endured by millions of sheep and other animals every year by banning live export.
Many Australian sheep will be spared from mutilation, thanks to U.K.-based grocery giant Tesco, which has announced that it will buy lamb meat only from farms that do not perform mulesing. Farmers who raise sheep for wool often sell them for slaughter if wool prices drop, meat prices increase, or the sheep are too old to breed. But now Tesco will only buy the meat if the farmers did not mutilate the sheep during wool production.
Mulesing is a barbaric procedure in which Australian farmers use garden shears to carve chunks of skin and flesh from the lamb's backsides in a crude attempt to create smoother skin that won't collect moisture and attract flies. But the exposed, bloody wounds often attract flies before they heal, or they become infected. Many sheep who have undergone the mulesing mutilation still suffer slow, agonizing deaths from flystrike. PETA has lobbied for the Australian wool industry to require all sheep farmers to control flystrike with the humane methods—such as breeding for a bare breech, spray washing, and more frequent monitoring of sheep—that are already being used by some farmers.
To thank Tesco for helping to end this cruel practice, PETA U.K. has sent the company a vegan cake emblazoned with the image of a sheep. You can help by urging the Australian government to outlaw mulesing today.
Virginia police are looking for a serial butt-slasher—a man who has cut several women across their backsides with a sharp blade in crowded shopping malls. While these attacks are disturbing, they are all too common—at least in Australia, where there is a veritable butt-slashing epidemic.
Every year, Australian farmers cut huge chunks of flesh from millions of gentle lambs' backsides during the mulesing mutilation. The lambs struggle as they are forced into metal restraints and have the skin around their tails cut away with garden shears in a crude and cruel attempt to prevent flystrike—a maggot infestation that affects Merino sheep who have been bred to have excessively wrinkly skin in which flies lay their eggs. The wounds from mulesing may take weeks to heal, and until then, the little lambs walk sideways like crabs because of the pain. Many lambs die when infection sets in or from flystrike—the very condition that the mulesing mutilation is supposed to prevent.
There are humane and more effective options for preventing flystrike, including breeding sheep to have less wrinkly skin and monitoring flocks more closely to treat the early signs of flystrike. Please take a moment to tell Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard that it's time for the wool industry to get off its a** and start treating sheep as living creatures, not commodities.
In order to show tourists that behind glossy pictures of the Sydney Opera House and Ayers Rock, Australia has an ugly secret, PETA is launching a new video spoof of an Oz tourism promotion called, "There's Nothing Like Australia's Cruelty to Sheep." Our version shows the cruelty of the Australian wool industry with video of farmers as they mutilate lambs' backsides, while the national anthem plays.
Much of the world's wool comes from Australian sheep who are subjected to "mulesing," a painful procedure in which farmers cut chunks of skin and flesh from sheep's backsides, often without adequate pain relief, in a crude and cruel attempt to prevent maggot infestation, called "flystrike." Humane methods of flystrike prevention—such as closer monitoring of sheep and breeding sheep who are less susceptible to flystrike—are available and in use by some farmers in Australia.
To help give sheep a permanent vacation from cruelty, please e-mail the Australian Prime Minister and ask her to take action immediately to end mulesing.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.