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Australian Sheep Neglected and Dying

Written by PETA | April 15, 2009

If you haven’t given up wool yet, here are five reasons to make that commitment to animals now: Faith, Lily, Mae, Pete, and Lucy. These are some of the sheep whose suffering was documented by a group of concerned Australians who have been wrangling with do-nothing authorities to help a horribly neglected flock.


This is Faith before and after treatment for flystrike.


The investigators photographed the bodies of dead and dying sheep around a Smeaton, Australia, property. One of the carcasses was contaminating the only readily available water source for the living sheep.

Many of the sheep on the property are being eaten alive by maggots. This condition is called “flystrike,” and it is preventable with proper attention and care. In Australia, sheep farmers use a barbaric mutilation called “mulesing” in a crude attempt to prevent flystrike, but it did not help Pete or Lucy, who had advanced flystrike and died soon after the group found them. Lucy had one of the worst cases of flystrike that one investigator had ever seen: “Severely fly struck she was close to death and of course extremely distressed. She was panting hard, eyes wide with terror but unable to rise. Lucy had been mulesed, however like millions of other sheep in this country still suffered the horrors of flystrike.”


Lucy’s flystrike was so debilitating she couldn’t get up off the ground.
Flies were eating away at Pete.


After repeated attempts to get the Department of Primary Industries to take action, local citizens attempted to help some of the ewes on the Smeaton property who had babies who depended on them for survival. Faith’s injuries were successfully treated, but Lily and Mae had to be taken to a veterinarian and euthanized. Their lambs are unlikely to survive without them.


Lily’s leg had been eaten away.
Mae’s hindquarters were a typical result of flystrike.


The appalling conditions on the Smeaton farm are not an isolated case of neglect and abuse. Domesticated sheep are vulnerable to flystrike because they have been bred to have wrinkly skin that produces an unnatural amount of wool. Breeding for “bare breech” is one option that would make sheep less vulnerable, but, in Australia, which produces 30 percent of the world’s wool, the vast flocks of sheep cannot be given the individual care and attention necessary to prevent flystrike and other illnesses. After enduring these conditions, Australian sheep are crammed onto filthy boats for live export to the Middle East—a trip that many do not survive—where they are dragged to slaughter and have their throats cut while they are conscious and struggling.

The best way to help Australian sheep is to avoid buying any wool, as it is difficult to know where wool originates. Urge the Australian prime minister to make this kind of cruelty to lambs illegal.

Written by Heather Drennan

Commenting is closed.
  • Betty Richardone says:


  • Bina says:

    I am ashamed to be part of the human race. I hate most people who are not vegetarian or vegan and who are insesitive to animals. I hope one day this planet will coolapse and there will no longer be suffering. The human race is a disgrace. I cry all the time when I think about the suffering people put innocent animals through daily and knowing I can only do alittle right now to help the animals kills me. Well at least I’v been vegan since I was age 11.

  • Betty Covington says:

    The greatness of a nation its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. The injustice of the innocent and voiceless.

  • Irene Arm says:

    I’m certainly terribly concerned about the conditions under which Australian sheep are allowedforced to live however I’m not at all pleased that we’re all supposed to assume the whole World is treating their sheep this way. You very well know how sheep are kept in the U.S. and how our youth is taught to raise happy and healthy ones so why isn’t there anybody out there screaming “no fair” already?? I absolutely support any eyeopening articles concerning animal cruelty but have to interfere in this case because of your generalizations of the facts. Let us all point to and blame the Government of Australia for neglecting to change the laws but please remember that sheep raised in our country are not being treated cruelly quite the contrary.

  • Team Otalia says:

    It is sad but heartening to read the Comments section on this piece. I get so upset and see so few people around me who care or who are willing simply to read an article or watch a video about the horrors we perpetuate on defenseless peaceful sentient beings. I’m glad so many people share my outrage and will take this information and spread the word.

  • Connie says:

    Has PETA reached out to Australian actors to do a promo about the Australian wool industry middle east transports and mulesing? I think Nicole Kidman Hugh Jackman Russell Crowe and others might be interested to comment if they are animal lovers.

  • Daniela Revelo says:

    Hey WTF? Dont you understand people! Animals feel and are alive like us! We are animals too! I will make everything I can to stop this! We are in 21th century!! We have tech enough to kill them but not making them suffer! Come on! Well we dont have to make this we are not stupid are we?

  • Marcia Mueller says:

    To Jake Sage Yes terrible things happen to people and that is also unfortunate. However mistreatment of human beings is condemned by most religions is punishable by law and is seldom accepted as must business as usual like factory farms and slaughter houses are. Furthermore most charitable activities and funds are directed only to people not animals. Those of us who work and pay taxes are funding much of the peoplecentered help available. Animals do not have the moral or legal standing that people have and even churches seldom speak out for them don’t want to upset the parishioners!. As an extra point to remember people tend to cause a lot of their own problems. Those of us who are concerned about animals should not have to explain or justify wanting to help them.

  • Lauren says:

    Firstly there is no reason that those ewes lambs would die without their mothers. I have seen numerous poddy lambs raised by the bottle and raised a few myself. Secondly severe flystrike like the above is NOT a regular occurance. There is a flystrike season when it is most prevalent and the majority of farmers keep a closer eye on their stock during this season. Flystrike is most commonly treated with fly oil an oily substance poured directly onto the live maggots which kills them off and disinfects the wound. Flystrike is also picked up and treated at annual or biannual shearing crutching drenching and any other reason the sheep need to be bought in. Major flystrike is RARE it is not going to benefit the farmer having his sheep die of flystrike. It is in the farmers best interest to have his sheep in the best possible condition.

  • Mir says:

    i live on a farm with sheep. Lily and Mae’s lambs would be able to survive without them if they were bottle fed. we have about 5 or 6 lambs every year which are bottle fed and they turn out fine.

  • a carnivore says:

    You people are very easily manipulated. Animals are not human. They are food. And we really need to be worrying about mistreated animals when children are dying daily in third world countries Right? Sorry i forgot how much more important animals were than humans.

  • Sam says:

    I can’t believe this is real why would people do such things to poor little animals? This is so terrible and needs to stop NOW!

  • Andrew says:

    just like to say while this is extremely cruel it is not widespread! as sheep farming is a business it is not in the farmers interest to let stock waste away as it would lessen profit! while instances like those do occur i would have to say that they are rare! I would imagine that the farmer involved is living on his own and is really to old to care for his stock! however i had never heard of the mulesing before and i am appalled at that! also not sure if people realise this but sheep are never killed for there wool! there shorn! only killed for meat!

  • Ellie says:

    Of course that’s horrible and made worse by the fact that there are plenty of ways to get wool from sheep PAINLESSLY and so that it’ll grow back!

  • Compassion and truth not lies. says:

    Can I suggest to you David Grazier that you as a farmer and the other animal farmers get together and work out a way of getting rid of the animal farmers who do not look after their animals. One of the serious problems Australia faces is that there is NO control over what farmers do so that there may be more farmers than you think who fail to care for their animals. In my opinion what we see in this article is not isolated it is not rare either there are thousands of sheep suffering such as these are but no one does a thing about it.

  • Sam says:

    I was going to do a persuasive speech on why sheep make great pets but after seeing this I’m going to spread the word!

  • jonathan says:

    katie good idea then the sheep can be used for meat as it’s wool value no longer guarantees a long life. A much better outcome for the sheep. Not.

  • katie says:

    I am deeply saddened by this. I had no idea. Henceforth I will not purchase wool.

  • NOTaDouche says:


  • Elisa F. says:


  • nergis says:

    What I see here is unbelieveble horryble but as I know I saw once in a farm when the sheeps got sheared they dont get hurt. It was like a hair cut. If you want the wool you can take it without hurting the animal so why so much cruelty… I dont want to believe this

  • Melissa says:

    Sheep are such a beautiful animal… how could any person… or should I say beast do this to another creature!?!? We really need to get are sh together and treat animals better!

  • Trisha says:

    Jake Sage…the measure of a person is not only how we treat eachother but also and ESPECIALLY how we treat our animals… defenseless often helpless animals who don’t want to hurt and are given to us from The Creator to protect not abuse…in saying that my friend YOU ARE THE ONE WHO NEEDS TO GET REAL!!! U will swallow your words someday…that I promise!

  • Stephanie says:

    There needs to be prevention of this immediately. I have UGGs and the man in the last comment used the word “generally” used as a byproduct of lamb meat production. “Generally.” That concerns me. Also it is one man’s word.

  • bre says:

    this is horrible. i work for a company that sells wool and i just sent them and emial about this i hope they look into it and change their merch.

  • Adrian says:

    These people should think of how they would feel if they were treated like that. They wouldn’t like it so how do they think the sheep feel?

  • erika sundman says:

    People doing this or NOT preventing this should feel the same agony pain and suffering. Why cant the world understand that animals have the same rights as a child as an old person or as you and I ?

  • David Grazier says:

    My family I have a grazing property in NSW where we produce lamb wool beef. Yes Uggs are made from sheep skin the skins used for Uggs are generally a byproduct of lamb meat production. These lambs are generally cross bred not pure merino and so are unlikely to have been mulesed. They are also unlikely to have been struck by flies. There are a number of effective preventative treatments available for flystrike that most wool and lamb producers use. Please believe me severe flystrike as depicted in this website is very rare indeed.

  • Clarissa says:

    That’s horrible! tear tear the last picture…. oh…. how could people bare to watch such a thing happen to animals under their care?

  • michelle says:

    this is DISGUSTING. about 5 minutes ago I was eating lunch. and I had quite a bit of meat. i ate half of my meal then paused and went on the computer and I ended up on Peta because I was checking my email. Not a minute later I was on this page and I read about how animals are abused and how they suffer. Then I went back to my meal that included pork pork and more pork. and rice a boiled egg and a glass of milk. When I saw the meat I was horrified. I didn’t even feel like eating it at all anymore but i had a half eaten meat in my bowl. i decided that it was my last meat but now i feel sick to the stomach for eating smthing alive….I AM NOT A VEGETARIAN.

  • Noel says:

    That is disgusting! Those sheep deserve far better treatment they feel! How can anybody be so cruel?!

  • Candace Alison Loque says:

    this is horrifying but it is good to get people informed and be more aware of what they are wearing.

  • Sue Ducasse says:

    Jake Sage What are you doing on a site that supports animals then? Noone is denying that horrible things happen to humans or saying that we don’t care about them too! I’m sure a lot of Peta supporters also support ‘human’causes. Instead of criticising us and visiting the Peta website why not spend your time productively doing something for humans eh?

  • Ben says:

    Oh my god this is the most horrifying thing I have ever read about animal cruelty! We NEED to stop this.

  • Caitlin says:

    This is really bad. It HAS to stop. People please STOP BUYING WOOL! After reading this article I will never wear wool again.

  • Anaiti says:

    gosh this is speechless and i thought they weren’t hurt or torchred they just got their wool shaved off

  • Giorgia says:

    How about Irish wool? Do you guys think that sheeps in Ireland are treated the same way?

  • vianey says:

    Suppa SAD !

  • Oliver Engstrà says:

    OMG….This makes me so angry Stupid nonhuman

  • Kaji says:

    This is sick and horrible to see the way these innocent animals are being treated. Shame on Australia for allowing such crime to be committed!

  • magda says:

    peaople are disgusting… we are like cancer… and it will be like that unil the end of the world… i feel sorry for myself that i’m human

  • pet says:

    When i was very very young my dad brought home some animals from a bad farm they didnt want them anymore. He gave me an old sheep and we kept her as a pet and didnt hurt her ever. I can’t believe some people can’t tell right from wrong and see what they’re doing is so inhumane and disgusting.

  • Srivatsa says:

    This is horrible. These people are sick and we have to put them to mental asylum or treat them in a similar fashion as they treat these animals. I will never buy any wool product and whatever I have use till it lasts… oh no when I wear them I feel guilty.

  • Dani says:

    thankyou soo much for this article I had no idea this was happening! wool is a nogozone now. thx

  • daniel says:

    I am 13 years of age and live in Australia. This is a massive promblem. On these holidays i went to Apolo Bay outside of Melborne. and i counted at least 4 or 5 shops saying Sheep wool car seats sold here. HOW DICUSSTING!!! Australia needs to see this because it is never seen as a promblem at all. Thanks Ingred i have a topic for my public speaking next week

  • Bre says:

    and here i though wool was safe to wear since it did not endanger the animals! these animals deserve a voice. it hurts my heart to see this

  • Hannah says:

    This is so enlightening I had no idea sheep were treated so horribly. Bred to produce more wool used then shipped to the middle east?

  • Vin Diamond says:

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It is truly very very sad. Another disturbing torture to yet another animal that is so cruel. I will not buy wool.. I will make this known throughout Canada. Message Please be kind cruel world to our loved animals.

  • Samuel says:

    I completely agree with Jessica the Human race is a scourge that needs to be removed the good of others for the good of animals. Without us things would be a lot better on Earth….It is no wonder that Alien races have not made contact before why should they when they see what we do to others why should they when they see what we do to ourselves why should they when they see what destruction we wrought upon our own world our home.

  • Samuel says:

    People say that wool is ok for people that believe in animal welfare such as us because the animal is not harmed in the attaining of wool. Now I know that that is not true… This and so many other needless killings of God’s creatures happens around the world every second… The people responsible for this are cruel and require some.. Reeducation