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16 Things You Need to Know About Wool


1. About 25 percent of the world’s wool comes from Australia.

2. Young lambs’ ears are hole-punched, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated, all usually without anesthetics or pain relief.

3. It is considered “normal” in the Australian wool industry for approximately 3 million young lambs to die every spring.

4. Lambs sometimes die because of poor nutrition.

5. This wound is the result of a process called “mulesing,” and it’s standard practice in the industry.

6. During “mulesing,” workers carve huge strips of skin off the backs of lambs’ legs and around their tails.

Patty Mark/

7. Or workers attach vise-like clamps to their flesh until it dies and sloughs off.

8. In the rush to produce more wool, many sheep die from exposure after premature shearing.

9. An unnatural overload of wool also causes animals to die of heat exhaustion during hot months.

10. During shearing, sheep can sustain anything from nicks to complete amputations of their udders, ears, penises, and other body parts.

11. Eyewitness: “I have seen shearers punch sheep with their shears or their fists until the sheep’s nose bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off.”

12. During auction, the pens are crowded and sheep may die because of injuries or stress.

13. When sheep age and their wool production declines, they are sent to slaughter.

14. Millions of live sheep are shipped from Australia to the Middle East and North Africa every year.

15. A 2005 report stated that about 38,000 sheep died in transit. In most cases, their carcasses were thrown overboard.

16. In New Zealand, methane emissions from enteric fermentation, coming mostly from sheep, make up more than 90 percent of the nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

Don’t support an industry that treats sheep as disposable and not as the smart, sensitive, dignified animals they are. Sheep deserve better. Pledge never to wear wool now!

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  • Hello says:

    Actually, a lot of this is false information. Farmers want their stock to last as long as possible because if it drops their profit drops too, so they don’t senselessly kill. Mulesing is actually painless. Please cite your sources, PETA. The wool and meat industries are kept separate in Australia.

  • Kristin Newton says:

    My father is from Iceland and I helped shear sheep on my cousin’s sheep farm. It was a totally different experience from what you described here! The sheep weren’t cut or harmed in any way. One of us held the sheep’s head to keep it still and the other sheared the wool. Shearing the wool was an amazing process. You just run the shearing scissors through the wool and it comes off with hardly any effort. It’s not like cutting hair. Our hands are covered with lanolin and feel so soft. The sheep weren’t stressed and neither were we. There were a few hundred but each sheep took maybe 10 minutes. I think Australian and New Zealand sheep and cow farmers are sadists. It doesn’t have to be that way at all. They have no respect for living creatures and are just a bunch of thugs. Buy Icelandic sweaters! The wool is sheared with compassion and many of the sweaters are handmade by Icelandic grandmothers.

  • :-) says:

    Good question Warwick. Removing strips of skin actually prevents the sheep from being eaten alive by maggots 🙂

  • onika says:

    Why do they have to do this. Can’t they be gentle with these sheeps. I don’t understand people who buy animal skins and products. You have their blood on your hands. Please understand that they are living beings, they endure pain even if they cannot speak. Look at the animals with deep cuts and bleeding.

  • Finlander says:

    Oh my god!! I’m never going to buy anything again.

  • Warwick Ingpen says:

    WHY do workers cut strips of skin off the sheep? WHAT purpose does this serve??

  • mimi says:

    Pure barbarism! we as humans boast about a modern technology, age of computers but we are still in middle ages when it comes to treatment of the weak.

  • Rachel Hussain says:

    I think it is disgusting the the wool industry is allowed to get away with such barbaric treatment of animals. What is the point of an animal welfare bill when all the wool industry does is flout it.

  • Hella says:

    It seems like everything that turns into buisness, turns into terror aswell

  • Francoise Gagnieux says:

    Why do we have to treat animals so badly. It does not have to be like this, let us be more human!

  • rossella sozzo says:

    Che orrore basta!

  • Theresa Helander says:

    This is so terrible and cruelty so I got tears at my eye. Please stop whit this animal cruelty.

  • Jeannette marriott says:

    If farmers did not over produce sheep and other animals then them problem would not be as bad. BUT ITS ALL ABOUT MONEY AND PROFIT. Untill mans greed is halted the suffering to these animals will go on. Goverments make noises about it all, BUT DO NOTHING TO STOP IT. Change will only happen when PEOPLE SPEAK UP!!

  • Chantal Bally says:

    I am truly shocked by these pictures – unfortunately, unless you have seen these pictures, you are not aware of what is happening. So I thank PETA for opening my eyes. I will definitely stop buying anything that has wool.

  • Mark Jordahl says:

    A blanket prohibition against wool, or committing to not buy wool, hurts the small ranchers who are trying to produce wool in an ethical way. They have a hard enough time competing against the industrial wool producers without having people drop wool altogether. The best is to just do your research as with any other product. Get on google and search for “ethical wool” and find a supplier. Wool CAN be sustainable, certainly more-so than petroleum-based polypro, which is most people’s alternative. If people start to only buy ethically produced wool, all wool will be produced ethically.

  • hipio says:


  • Shane says:

    My dad’s side of the family have been sheep farmers in Australia for generations and I spend my fair share of time working on my grandparents’ farm. While all theses practices do happen, it is nowhere near as bad and cruel as this story makes out. Firstly they do have stuff to put on the lambs after mulesing which is an important operation for the sheep in our climate because sheep whose tails are not docked and who are not mulsed end up being fly-blown. This is a serious condition where flies infect the wool around the sheep’s backside where it gets covered in poop, and the flesh starts to die and become full of maggots while the sheep is walking around. If left untreated the will get very sick and die. They don’t suffer very much and recover to be happy sheep. Only a terrible shearer would mistreat the sheep as they respond better to kind treatment, and in all the shearing sheds I saw, injuries to the sheep were not very common and never serious. They had a special ointment to put on any cuts that might happen if the sheep wiggles while being sheared. The climate in Australia where most sheep farms are can be quite harsh with very hot dry summers and cold winters. Shearing is timed every year to happen in the warmer months so the sheep don’t overheat from too much wool. Like most animals, sheep tend to have their young in the spring, however with our changing climate affecting the length and timing of seasons, sometimes they do end up lambing in the winter. This, combined with ewes that occasionally abandon their young can lead to high numbers of dead lambs. This story gave an arbitrary number of lamb deaths being “normal” but didn’t contrast it to the total number of sheep being farmed in that population. The same could be said for human infant mortality in the US vs Australia if you didn’t know the whole population size of each nation. Instead of just believing what you’re told by an animal activist on a website like this, make your opinion after getting all the information. Not everything is as horrible and cruel as people make out.

  • Robyn m says:

    Is there a good place where we can buy wool from? Where they treat their sheep right?! If there is please let me know.

  • Adriana Arce says:

    Es indignante ver el maltrato hacia unos animales tan sumisos como son las ovejas. La humanidad no merece ser salvada. Ya esta proximo el fin del mundo. Creo firmemente que con este andar los unicos que deberian salvarso son los animales. Hay muestra suficiente de las torturas a las que son sometidos, por eso tienen el CIELO ganado.

  • Jane says:

    What is wrong with these people?! I mean it is common sense you are hurting these creatures! STOP the cruelty and start treating them right! Its heartbreaking!!!

  • mouna says:

    These cruel and heartless practices on animals that cannot protect themselves must STOP.

  • elaine says:

    animals shouldn’t have to suffer like this, these are cruel wicked people.they are not on this earth for us to torture them

  • Fran Hoef-Bouchard says:

    I don’t believe it helps animals when people who actually care about these animals, including myself, demand the people who make a living off them, expect them to just stop. Education. By showing these ranchers that there is a more humane way to shear or slaughter a sheep. Baby steps.

  • claudia says:

    I don’t see why they have to suffer and be mistreated. There is a perfectly easy human way to shave a sheep.

  • Vanessa-C says:

    @kitty_meowz: Thanks your interest in helping animals! Check out to learn more! And re: instagram–yeah share with all your friends and tag us!

  • Vanessa-C says:

    @Annick: We don’t have a specific list of wool-free companies, but take a look at our cruelty-free clothing guide here for ideas:

  • Sian says:

    Disgusting, cruel treatment of live animals used soley as a commodity to satisfy mans greed…

  • Catherine VARIN says:

    c’est inadmissible, de quel droit font ils cela, ils n’ont aucun respect pour la vie de ces pauvres bêtes, c’est honteux, il faut que cela cesse,

  • Silvia Reyes says:

    Las imágenes y los comentarios TERRIBLES!!! No vuelvo a comprarme nada hecho con lana de ovejas

  • Mary Houghton says:

    I think we need to ask a lot of questions as to where the products we consume come from – poor animals I despair how they are treated in the name of business

  • Mukesh Tanwar says:

    Is there any way to make people understan how painful it is for those creatures? People just don’t want to listen when it comes to their temptations…

  • Sonia Van de Velde says:

    Only humans are that immens cruel and insane to another being! Stop this madness now! These are nothing more then Nazi actions!

  • jolanta bardzinska says:


  • Yanira Lauricella says:

    No need to assesinate a beautiful animal for warmth, there are way BETTER alternatives. Life must be respected on animals or humans.

  • Loir says:

    Why aren’t the people taking the pictures doing something about this???

  • lola says:


  • marlene rangel rodrigues says:

    É muito cruel o que voces fazem,é desumano e pra mim voces são montros cruéis,que usam uma forma selvagem para ganhar dinheiro,quando morrerem não levarão nada para o túmulo, e irão direto para o inferno por tanta crueldade.Demônios.

  • Marcia Strongren says:

    Isto é uma desgraça e tem que acabar, como podemos aceitar isto??? Fim desta monstruosidade já.

  • Nola Pellerin says:

    I am sitting here in tears as I write this. I had no idea that the animals were tortured like this!!!! I will NEVER own anything made from wool!!!! God Bless those poor animals….

  • isabell linarte says:

    Oh my god.. this is horrific.. how can people have no heart … this is sooooo sad and wrong! please stop this omg… poor lambs/sheeps :/ no animal deserves this! its 2013, why cant we find another safer and nicer way to get the fur.. like why cant we just shave the fur thats it.. not torture them and pull different parts of bones on them:[ just imagine yourself in their position:{ this is sooo sad , it breaks my heart and makes me shake.

  • Sigrid Vernooij says:

    This is sooooo bad Australia!!! I will never buy wool again, being produced like this. You people should be ashamed of this industry and it should be forbidden!!!

  • Burtha says:

    How could you so easily hurt precious life?

  • tamara says:

    Keep signing petitions; keep exposing evil abusers; keep reading content labels and don’t buy wool; keep donating to animal sanctuaries; keep writing letters to officials; and never ever stop speaking out – even if you are afraid of offending someone. If they are offended, they are not ready to listen or change their ways.

  • nazy tabesh says:

    Please stop this crulty. Don’t you people have a heart? Don’t you beleive in karma? Don’t you know that these animals can feel pain? For the love of GOD stop this.

  • Anna Malmstrom says:

    SHAME ON YOU!! The way you treat animals shows the morality of your nation! Cruel and egoistic!

  • Maya says:

    Horrific! Barbaric! Sending this article to both my sisters and i’ll spread the word. Spread this to people you know, the more who know the more the word will spread and hopefully will result in awareness and a permanent change. As Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

  • Ana Paula Maria de Santana says:

    Eu fico pensando nos problemas da vida, isso que estão fazendo é um pecado tão grande, não é a toa que a tanta gente doente no mundo, tantas doenças algumas sem cura, outras novas surgindo, algumas pessoas merecem o sofrimento que passam, a vida é assim a recebe da vida o que da pra ela e sem duvida paga por tudo que faz!!!!

  • louie genzano says:

    Words can not describe how terribly cruel humans are to totally helpless harmless animals. Just a crying shame. Lack of feeling for the cruelty.