If you think your wool sweater is just the harmless result of a sheep’s haircut then be prepared for the itchy truth the wool industry goes to great lengths to cover up.
The wool industry is cruel and makes the lives of sheep anything but easy. With the number of alternatives gaining in quality and quantity, the time to ditch wool is now. These shocking truths will have you convinced wool-free is the way to go.
1. Wool is Cruel
Wool is incredibly cruel and undesirable for a number of reasons. First is the treatment of the sheep. The sheep have holes punched in their ears to be tagged, their tails cut off, and male sheep are castrated, most often without any anesthetic. Furthermore, there are countless reports of sheep being unnecessarily beaten and injured during the shearing process.
Patagonia was the subject of a scandal a few years back when an undercover PETA video revealed employees of the outdoor clothing retailer’s supplier was beating animals. Thankfully, Patagonia stopped using that supplier, but it showed what really goes on behind closed doors–even for brands with sustainability and ethics commitments like Patagonia.
The wool industry practice of mulesing is the cruelly painful removal of skin folds around the sheeps’ buttocks to prevent flies from laying eggs (they’re attracted by the feces and urine). This is a widespread industry norm often done without the use of any anesthetic and is incredible painful for the animals.
2. Sheep Need Wool
Contrary to what the wool industry would like you to think, they aren’t doing the sheep any favors by shearing them. Sheep’s bodies grow enough hair to control their temperatures and makes them most able to adapt to a variety of climates.
3. Major Greenhouse Gas Contributions
Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas, which animals on farms, such as sheep, produce each time they burp (or pass gas). Leading wool producing countries Australia and New Zealand have significant levels of methane contributing to their emissions output. According to The Wall Street Journal, agriculture is responsible 48 percent of New Zealand’s greenhouse gasses. These startling facts show how much of a toll wool production takes on the environment.
4. Endless Alternatives
Acrylic, bamboo, and cotton are just a few cruelty-free fabrics that can substitute wool. They are even cozier since they are itch-free and can be found in coat, sweater, or sock form. By skipping wool, you’re washing yourself clean of the cruelty that animals and the planet suffer for wool production.