Written by PETA
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.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
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.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
Animals find new ways to astonish us every day. Wouldn't it be great if we returned the favor by astonishing them with our compassion?
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Super-chic clothing company Ann Taylor is showing that it's got compassion sense to match its fashion sense. The retailer, known for modern silhouettes and sophisticated style, is moving away from purchasing wool from sheep who have been mulesed.
Mulesing is a painful procedure in which ranchers cut off large chunks of lambs' skin without using any painkillers. The Australian wool industry says that it uses mulesing to prevent a condition known as "flystrike" in which folds in the animals' skin trap moisture and attract flies and maggots—but the gaping open wounds caused by mulesing often lead to flystrike anyway. Many farmers are already using more humane flystrike-prevention methods, including dietary improvements, regular spray washing, and the breeding of bare-breech sheep.
Until farmers stop mulesing sheep, they will continue to lose profits: Ann Taylor joins a long list of major retailers—including H&M, Perry Ellis, HUGO BOSS, Liz Claiborne, and Gap Inc.—that are making the leap for happier sheep by moving away from or banning the use of wool from mulesed sheep. Be sure to take a moment to thank Ann Taylor for this compassionate move.
By now, you've no doubt heard about the string of shark attacks on tourists off the Egyptian coast at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort, including one attack that killed a German woman. But do you know why the sharks suddenly started biting? Some officials believe the sharks were drawn to the area by a livestock ship that was allegedly dumping the carcasses of sheep into the Red Sea.
The Middle East is a frequent destination for ships from Australia carrying sheep who have been cast off by the wool industry or who were raised for lamb chops. (During last month's Eid al-Adha festival alone, Australia exported 800,000 sheep to the Middle East.) That's tens of thousands of sheep who are crammed onto huge, open-deck ships, packed together so tightly that many are often unable to reach food and water troughs. Hundreds may die during the grueling, weeks-long voyage.
A new investigation by Animals Australia documents the horrific fate of the survivors. Investigators filmed conscious animals who were thrown to the ground, trussed by all four legs, and slaughtered by having their throats cut open with dull knives.
More videos from Animals Australia
Animals Australia presented its findings to Australia's new agriculture minister, Joe Ludwig, who, one can only hope, will be more receptive than previous deaf, dumb, and blind administrations. Please write to Senator Ludwig and urge him to ban the export of live animals.
Written by Alisa Mullins
For any of you who caught the Miss Universe pageant last night, you'll be relieved to know that it was faux sheepskin that Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell was wearing. After PETA Australia alerted Campbell to the cruelty of mulesing—a crude mutilation that involves cutting large chunks of flesh from the backsides of Australian lambs with instruments resembling gardening shears—Campbell decided to wear faux sheepskin instead of the real thing as part of her national costume.
"I am confirming that Jesinta Campbell Miss Universe Australia will be wearing only synthetic sheepskin on her national costume," Deborah Miller, national director of Miss Universe Australia, told PETA Australia.
As thanks, PETA sent Campbell a box of vegan chocolate sheep. Her kindness was rewarded again when she placed second runner-up and won the pageant's "Miss Congeniality" award. Who says nice girls finish last?
Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott holds a lot of sway when it comes to Australia's sheep. The proof? He inspired PETA Australia's Lucy the Sheep, who is following him all over the place these days, to wear a red Speedo similar to his (in)famous "budgie smuggler." (Warning: The link is possibly NSFW.)
Maybe next he'll inspire the rest of Australia's parliament to end mulesing and live-sheep exports.
Written by Jeff Mackey
You've seen Hollywood's fugliest. Now, take a look at the Uggliest from Down Under: The proposed national costume for Miss Universe contestant Jesinta Campbell, aka Miss Australia, is making people wince.
PETA Australia has asked Campbell to abandon her plans to wear a ghastly get-up that includes a sheepskin shrug and last year's Ugg boots during the upcoming Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas. Unless she's lived in a cave, she has to know that most lambs in Australia are subjected to "mulesing"—a mutilation in which huge chunks of flesh are cut from lambs' backsides. And to help her out in case she sticks to her decision to wear this itchy, woolly outfit, PETA Australia is sending her what it believes is the perfect accessory for her costume: a pair of mulesing shears.
Personally, I'm optimistic that Campbell will come around to compassion. When I was her age, my most prized possession was a black leather motorcycle jacket—until I learned about how cows suffer in meat and milk factories. Just as I abandoned my leather vice to become pleather nice, Campbell can go from abominable to fauxnomenal.
Written by Karin Bennett
As if Wednesday's historic vote by the Catalan parliament in Spain to ban bullfighting wasn't enough to make you scream "Olé," we've just heard that oh-so-iconic Spanish design house Adolfo Dominguez S.A. has not only signed on to shun fur, it has also agreed not to purchase or sell exotic skins, clothing made from down plucked from live birds, or wool from Australian sheep who have endured the painful mulesing mutilation—meaning that they've have chunks of flesh cut off their backsides.
Adolfo Dominguez's aggressive animal welfare policy places the company waaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of the ethical fashion curve. For our friends in Spain, this news might warrant a spending spree. For everyone else, why not treat yourself to some fashion-forward outfits from other helpful retailers such as Gap Inc., Timberland, H&M, Liz Claiborne, HUGO BOSS, and Perry Ellis International, who have all taken action by banning fur, exotic skins, and/or wool from mulesed sheep.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
"Ethically handsome" blogger Joshua Katcher, a multitalented artist, a writer, a producer, and an eco-style guru, has created an epically handsome ad that shares some baaad (sorry) news about one of climate change's lesser-known black sheep (sorry)—the wool industry:
Did you know that sheep outnumber people by more than four to one in Australia, one of the world's largest wool-marketing nations? Not only do all those poor sheep create an awful lot of climate-cooking methane gas as a result of, ahem, "enteric fermentation," they also produce an enormous amount of waste, which contributes to both air and water pollution. Sheep farmers also love to douse animals with toxic "sheep dip" and advocate killing off all manner of wildlife (kangaroos, dingoes, and rabbits in Australia and coyotes in the U.S.) in cruel ways (poisoning, trapping, etc.) because they compete with sheep for land and, in some cases, harass and kill sheep before the farmers can do that themselves. And don't even get me started on the mulesing mulitation, which is definitely in the running for the world's cruelest "standard agricultural practice."
So, if a fleecy three-piece is out, what shall Cinderfella wear to the boardroom? Try this on for size, you handsome devil angel, you.
Via The Discerning Brute
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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.