Even Wool is on PeTA’s Bad Side?

So, last night I learned that PeTA is opposed even to wool because sheep are harmed in the production of it.  My mind is boggled.


Listen, I’ve no doubt that there’s animal cruelty in some corners of the wool industry, but this seems like such an easy problem to solve.  You locate the people who treat the sheep cruelly and you boycott them and you encourage folks to buy their wool elsewhere.  Shearing sheep is not inherently degrading or troubling to a sheep any more than you getting a haircut is degrading or troubling to you.

I don’t know.  I find it baffling.

19 thoughts on “Even Wool is on PeTA’s Bad Side?

  1. I think it refers to some types of merino wool or some other radically expensive textile that I can’t afford that’s produced in Australia or New Zealand or somewhere equally exotic. They apparently cut chunks out of their backside for whatever reason. I’m not sure if it’s even real or what. I might just remain blissfully ignorant on this one.

    Having raised sheep as a kid, and shearing them more times that I care to remember, I can assure you I would have never hurt my sheep (because, you know, they have to stay alive and healthy to produce more wool). There’s one easy thing you can do: Look for a “Made in the USA” label on your wool clothes. Maybe we’re simply more sheep-friendly over here.

  2. I’m wearing a sweater-vest today that I bought specifically because the label said “Himalayan yak.” That ticked me.

    Does that make me a bad person? 8^)

  3. From Answer.com: “Mulesing is the surgical removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech of a sheep.[1] [2] Mulesing is common practice in Australia as a way to reduce the incidence of flystrike on Merino sheep in regions where flystrike is common.[2]

    Mulesing is a controversial topic with many different opinions. The National Farmers Federation says that “Mulesing remains the most effective practical way to eliminate the risk of ‘flystrike’ in sheep” and “that without mulesing up to 3,000,000 sheep a year could die a slow and agonising death from flystrike.” ‘[3]”The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) recognises the welfare implications of mulesing of sheep. However, the AVA advocates that alternatives for preventing breech strike, should be sought as part of a humane sheep husbandry procedure.”

    [4] The animal welfare organisation Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opposes the practice. [5]The animal rights organisation PETA strongly opposes mulesing, says the practice is cruel and painful, and that more humane alternatives exist.[5]

    In early November, 2004, representatives of the Australian wool industry met and voted to phase out the practice of mulesing in Australia by 31 December 2010.[6][2] Mulesing is already being phased out in New Zealand.[7]”

    So PETA has 2 strings to their bows on this one: 1) mulesing is cruel and unusual punishment; and 2) sheep and lambs are exported to other countries for slaughter. Neither of these two things has anything directly to do with wool, AFAICT. Even when the practice of mulesing stops, sheep and lambs will still be exported to other countries for slaughter, which still has nothing to do with wool. I think this is the usual PETA tactic of escalating to inflame, in the hopes that something will be done to fix the big injustice, but as OZ and NZ are already moving to eliminate mulesing, boycotting wool isn’t going to change very much, especially since sheep used for wool are not the ones shipped overseas for slaughter.

  4. I would have thought PETA would be against wool as an animal product period. Many strict Vegans that I know don’t use wool because an animal is domesticated and exploited for the production of the wool. Not whether it is eaten or harmed. They abjure honey for the same reasons.

    I, on the other hand, wear wool and love me some lamb chops and gyros.

    PETA is a cult.

  5. You know, I sometimes half-seriously wonder if PETA is funded and organized (however clandestinely) by some super-wealthy right-wingers with rare aptitudes for humor and irony. Just like I think the Maury Povich Show is secretly produced by a cabal of eugenicists and antinatalists.

  6. Ashley, using PeTA’s logic, I should start a campaign to get people to stop fucking men because it’s so cruel how they’re circumcised when they’re babies.

  7. I agree with dolphin on this one. I used to support PETA, but now send my dollars to various humane associations and the Nature Conservancy.

    I love wool and own quite a lot of wool; one of a handful of reasons I could never be a vegan.

  8. And the more I think about it the more I’m irritated by it, because it seems to overlook the fact that sheep (like cows and chickens and cats and dogs) are domesticated. Thoroughly.

    There is no magical wild state to return sheep to as we’ve changed them completely into an animal that is as dependent on us as we are on them.

    So, if PeTA wants to end animal suffering that’s in direct conflict with their goal of freeing animals from domestication. Freeing animals from domestication does mean their deaths, in pretty gruesome ways.

    Shoot, though, giving animals to PeTA also often means a pretty gruesome death, so maybe they just want to be the ones killing animals, not anyone else.

  9. I knew a woman once, very active with PeTA. Had her son circumsized. Also owned a cat, which she let wander in a very urban, high-traffic area. Whatever sympathy I had with their beliefs dissipated upon further aquiantance with her…

  10. I believe Penn and Teller covered PETA’s hypocrisy pretty well.

    They’re morons. They’ll be the first to be sacrificed in the zombie apocalypse.

  11. It’s more like boycotting a product because the workers are abused. There’s nothing inherently wrong with producing shoes, for example, but if the workers are treated badly, it’s not unreasonable to boycott them.

  12. Original Lee, how is the shipping of sheeps for slaugher not related to the wool industry? Sheep deamed not productive are one of the ‘waste product’ of the wool industry and are completely accountable for them. The industry will certainly not care for them after their peak production because it wouldn’t be economicaly viable.
    The other thing with sheep is that the speacies we domesticated are bred to produce so much fur that just the weight of it causes them back injuries.
    Messing around with the bodies of other animals for our own benefit is quite unrespectful and arrogant from how I see it.
    Now, if we kept our consumption of wool low, like having very few wool shirts and taking good care of them and passing on to our children (I wear some of my father’s wool shirts) and not strive for the growth of the industry (which I know is alot to ask), then I think that we could keep sheep that breed naturally and live their full lives well kept and happily. The problem with treating animals as economic units used to generate profit is that their well fare will always be secondary. I wouldn’t disagree with someone keeping sheeps on their property, as part of the ecosystem of the region, without pressuring the breeding selection, who used the wool for his own familly and freinds…

  13. Ayesha, when PeTA is done killing dogs and cats in their “shelters,” they can lecture the rest of the world on killing animals. I will still laugh at them, because they’re racist and sexist asshats, but at least they’ll be done being hypocritical racist and sexist asshats.

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