Skip to Main Content

New Video Shows Wool Industry Workers Killing, Punching, Stomping on Sheep

Australia in First Undercover Investigation of Its Kind

For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2014

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – As first reported by NBC this morning, PETA’s international exposé of the wool industry in the U.S. and Australia—the source of 90 percent of merino wool in the world—shows workers violently punching scared sheep in the face, stomping and standing on the animals’ heads and necks, and beating and jabbing them in the face with electric clippers and a hammer. Some sheep even died from the abuse, including one whose neck was twisted until the animal died. PETA’s investigators also documented that large, bloody wounds were left on the sheep’s bodies and that workers stitched gaping wounds closed using a needle and thread without administering any pain relief.

PETA’s video exposé highlights just some of the extraordinary cruelty observed by investigators at each of the 19 shearing sheds that they visited in Australia and at 14 ranches in Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska. In one incident in Colorado, a shearer who was muttering, “F***,” over and over killed a sheep by repeatedly twisting, severely bending, and breaking her neck. As he kicked the dying animal head-first down a chute, he said, “I might have killed it.” He admitted that he had previously injured another sheep by bending the animal’s neck back, excusing himself with the words, “I get angry.”

“Sheep are gentle prey animals who are petrified of even being held down, yet these sheep were punched in the face, kicked, and stomped on and had their heads slammed into the floor by unsupervised, impatient shearers, causing them great distress, injury, and even death,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “PETA is calling on shoppers around the world to reject cruelty to animals—and that means never buying wool.”

PETA has asked state and local law-enforcement agencies to investigate and file criminal charges against the workers, as appropriate, for what PETA believes are violations of cruelty-to-animals laws.

Photographs from the investigations are available here. Broadcast-quality video footage from the U.S. investigation is available here, and broadcast-quality video footage from the Australian investigations is available here. For more information, please visit PETA.org.