‘Trailing of the Sheep’ Statues Prompt PETA Proposal

Group Wants to Donate a Statue of a Sheep Being Roughly Shorn

For Immediate Release:
October 7, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Hailey, Idaho

Following reports that the Hailey Arts & Historic Preservation Commission supported the Trailing of the Sheep Festival’s bid to place 11 sculptures representing the wool industry’s longstanding influence in the area, PETA has sent the commission a letter this morning asking to donate an additional statue: one depicting a scared sheep being held down—something that prey animals fear deeply—and being shorn.

“No one needs wool these days, and if we’re being honest, traumatizing gentle sheep is every bit as much a part of the industry’s heritage as the Trailing of the Sheep Festival,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is eager to help Hailey show every aspect of the wool industry—including that workers have been videotaped time and again hitting, kicking, stomping on, and cutting up sheep.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Michele Johnson, chair of the Hailey Arts & Historic Preservation Commission, follows.

October 7, 2020

Michele Johnson, Chair

Hailey Arts & Historic Preservation Commission

Dear Ms. Johnson,

I hope this letter finds you well. The Arts & Historic Preservation Commission recently worked with the Trailing of the Sheep group to gain approval on the placement of sculptures celebrating the sheep industry’s presence in Wood River Valley. In light of this, I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—including nearly 22,000 in Idaho—with a proposal for an additional statue. It would be a single 6-foot-tall depiction of a sheep being sheared—to be donated to the city. As the City of Hailey is committed to “acquiring artworks that are reflective of diverse … perspectives,” PETA’s statue would help achieve this goal while paying tribute to the millions of gentle, intelligent sheep who are beaten, stomped on, kicked, cut, and mutilated in the wool industry each year.

PETA and its international affiliates have visited more than 100 wool industry operations on four continents, including North America—and compiled the findings in 13 exposés—and no matter what those operators claimed about welfare standards, extreme abuse of sheep is rampant. Shearers are usually paid by volume, rather than by the hour, so they work hastily and recklessly, often leaving sheep injured and bleeding. And when the animals are no longer profitable, they’re slaughtered. This cruelty is exactly why the fashion industry is developing innovative alternatives that mimic the warmth and style of wool without harming animals. While the amount of incalculable suffering and cruelty that’s been inflicted on countless sheep exploited for their fleece for more than a century cannot be erased, the installation of this statue would serve as a stark reminder to Hailey residents that one of the best ways to prevent violence against sheep is never to buy their wool.

The donation of the statue is not contingent on the placement site, but we would ideally like to see the piece placed somewhere near Roberta McKercher Park or somewhere else visible to residents and visitors alike. At the unveiling, we would also like to set up a portable TV to screen footage from PETA’s exposés of the wool industry. I hope to hear from you soon about working together to move forward with placing this piece in accordance with your guidelines. Thank you for your consideration.


Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

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