Inside the Australian Wool Industry

Sheep are gentle, loving animals who—just like humans—experience fear, stress, and pain. Much of the world’s wool comes from sheep who undergo “mulesing,” a painful procedure in which Australian farmers cut chunks of skin and flesh from sheep’s backsides, often without any pain relief, in a crude and cruel attempt to prevent a 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.

Every year, 4 million live sheep used by the Australian wool industry are exported by ship to the Middle East and North Africa for slaughter. Many of these sheep have been discarded by wool farmers because they have aged and their wool production has declined. Sheep are crowded together on multi-tiered ships for horrifying journeys across the ocean in all weather extremes. They endure filthy conditions, and many succumb to disease or starve to death. The survivors are dragged from the ships by their legs and have their throats cut while they are still conscious.

You can help end the barbaric mulesing mutilations and the cruel live export of lambs and sheep by immediately taking action on the alerts below.

Please also remember that the best way for you to help sheep who are mutilated and abused is to leave all wool out of your wardrobe. Sign our “Have a Heart—Don’t Buy Wool” pledge to show your commitment to being wool-free.

Have a Heart, Don't Buy Wool

After signing the pledge, learn about the many cruelty-free clothing options that are available, and use PETA’s Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing to help you find items that are wool-free. To find out about additional actions that you can take to help sheep and to learn more about demonstrations, join PETA’s Action Team.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind