With winter weather around the corner, it’s safe to say that most of us will be buying a new sweater or two. Before you head out on that shopping trip, however, Emily Deschanel has a few facts she wants you to know.
This morning, the actress-turned-producer tweeted “Before you buy that new sweater, please take a look at this” and linked to an article by PETA which elaborates on the horrors which face sheep during wool production.
According to PETA, twenty-five percent of the world’s wool comes from Australia, a country which does not have strict laws in place to protect the wellbeing of the millions of sheep who are raised on the continent. As a result, practices are often cruel and casualties are catastrophic.
In the Australian wool industry, it is considered normal for about three million lambs to die every spring, usually from exposure, injury, stress or malnutrition. Lambs can also die from a common practice called “mulesing” where large strips of skin are cut off the lamb’s tail area and hind feet while they are held down in a metal trap. If they survive to adulthood, many more animals die of exposure to the cold after premature shearing or heat exhaustion during the summer months.
Because most ranches pay sheep shearers by volume, not by the hour, workers try to sheer the animals as fast as possible, often cutting or even completely mutilating them in the process. An eyewitness said “I have seen shearers punch sheep with their shears or their fists until the sheep’s nose bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off.”
When the sheep have passed their prime years for wool production, they are shipped out for slaughter – usually to the Middle East and Africa – and used for food. Conditions continue to be horrifying until the animals’ deaths. In 2005, an investigation found that roughly 38,000 sheep died in transit to slaughterhouses that year alone and, in most cases, their bodies were simply thrown overboard.
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