First Time in History: Charges Filed Against Wool Industry Workers for Abusing Sheep

Workers Caught Punching, Stomping on, and Beating Sheep With Clippers in Australia's Shearing Sheds

For Immediate Release:
December 13, 2016

David Perle 202-483-7382

Melbourne, Australia – In a landmark case following the release of a PETA exposé, a shearer has pleaded guilty to charges of cruelty to animals for the first time in history. The exposé documented that wool workers in Australia beat scared sheep in the face with electric clippers and punched and stomped on their heads and necks.

In the wake of an investigation by Agriculture Victoria, the state’s director of public prosecutions filed four counts against the man, who appeared in court on Friday. He has been banned from shearing or being in charge of farmed animals for two years and has been ordered to donate $500 to the RSPCA.

As a result of the investigation, six shearers have been charged, with the five others scheduled to face court in the new year. As many as 40 additional workers were considered persons of interest in Victoria alone.

“This is a warning to all shearers that if you abuse sheep or allow someone to do so, you will likely face prosecution,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling on shoppers around the world to reject cruelty to animals—and that means never buying wool.”

The comprehensive evidence included more than 40 pages of formal legal complaints and video footage of 235 incidents recorded in Victoria alone. Australia is the world’s top wool exporter and produced an estimated $3 billion worth of the material between 2015 and 2016. Ninety percent of merino wool sold throughout the world originates from Australia.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—encourages consumers to choose materials that are not derived from appalling suffering.

For more information about the cruelty of the wool industry, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response 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