Posts for Tag : Sheep

Environmental Hazards of Wool

At every stage of production, from breeding sheep to mothproofing garments, the wool industry threatens the land, air, and water.

Climate Change

Manure generated from livestock has significantly contributed to the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gasses over the last 250 years. In that time, the concentration of methane has increased by more than 130 percent in the U.S. “Enteric fermentation,” or livestock belching and passing gas, accounts for roughly one-quarter of annual agricultural methane emissions.

In New Zealand, methane emissions from enteric fermentation, coming mostly from sheep, make up more than 90 percent of the nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions. In the summer of 2003, New Zealand Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton, Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change Pete Hodgson, and other members of the government proposed taxing sheep farmers to pay for emissions research, but the plan was abandoned.
 
Land Damage

Oxford researchers studying land degradation in the Karoo in South Africa have noted, “There is some evidence in uggs boots outlet the Karoo as a whole that very high stock numbers (sheep largely) are the cause of vegetation change and soil erosion leading to the formation of badlands [heavily eroded areas].”

In the first half of the 20th century, Patagonia, Argentina, was second to Australia in wool production. But when local sheep farmers got too greedy, the scale of their operations outgrew the ability of the land to sustain them. Soil erosion in the region has triggered a desertification process that officials estimate threatens as much as 93 percent of the land. Argentina is no longer a major wool producer.
 
Water Pollution

Fecal matter contaminates waterways in areas where sheep are farmed. A case study conducted by the New Zealand government on two medium-sized farms found fecal contamination in the water that “exceeded levels suitable for drinking and safe recreational use in virtually every reading since 1994, and in recent times … has well exceeded safe livestock drinking levels ….”

Sheep “dip,” which is a toxic chemical used to rid sheep of parasites, presents disposal problems and can harm the environment. A Scottish study of 795 sheep-dip facilities found that 40 percent presented a pollution risk uggs outlet online. The study found evidence of a 1995 incident in which a cupful of spent dip, full of a highly toxic synthetic called pyrethroid cypermethrin, killed 1,200 fish downstream from where it was dumped into a river.
 
Wildlife ‘Scapegoats’

The wool industry also inflicts “collateral damage” on wildlife they consider to be “pests.” Many landowners consider kangaroos to be such “pests,” and though there are some laws governing the killing of kangaroos, on their own property, landowners can do whatever they want to these animals without fear of repercussions. The preferred method of killing joeys whose mothers have been slaughtered is, according to government code, decapitation or a “blow to destroy the brain.”

In the U.S., coyotes are vilified for eating sheep and other livestock, and, as a result, millions are slaughtered every year by ranchers and the federal government.

By purchasing only wool alternatives uggs outlet, not only are you taking a stand for animals, you’re also helping to preserve natural ecosystems throughout the world. Check out PETA’s cruelty-free clothing guide for tips on where you can find environmentally friendly and compassionate fashion.

Australian Lambs Catch A Break

Many Australian sheep will be spared from mutilation, thanks to U.K.-based grocery giant Tesco, which has announced that it will buy lamb meat only from farms that do not perform mulesing. Farmers who raise sheep for wool often sell them for slaughter if wool prices drop, meat prices increase, or the sheep are too old to breed. But now Tesco will only buy the meat if the farmers did not mutilate the sheep during wool production uggs boots outlet.

Mulesing is a barbaric procedure in which Australian farmers use garden shears to carve chunks of skin and flesh from the lamb’s backsides in a crude attempt to create smoother skin that won’t collect moisture and attract flies. But the exposed, bloody wounds cheap uggs outlet often attract flies before they heal, or they become infected. Many sheep who have undergone the mulesing mutilation still suffer slow, agonizing deaths from flystrike. PETA has lobbied for the Australian wool industry to require all sheep farmers to control flystrike with the humane methods—such as breeding for a bare breech, spray washing, and more frequent monitoring of sheep—that are already being used by some farmers.

To thank Tesco for helping to end this cruel practice, PETA U.K. has sent the company a vegan cake emblazoned with the image of a sheep uggs outlet. You can help by urging the Australian government to outlaw mulesing today.

The Hidden Lives of Sheep

Sheep are gentle, sensitive animals who are emotionally complex and highly intelligent. The following recent studies have found that sheep and humans have many things in common.

Keith Kendrick, a professor of medicine at Gresham College in London, found that sheep can distinguish between different expressions in humans and can detect changes in the faces of anxious sheep. He also discovered that sheep recognize the faces of at least 50 other sheep and can remember 50 different images for up to two years.

Professor John Webster of the University of Bristol found that, like humans, sheep visibly express emotions. When they experience uggs boots outlet stress or isolation, they show signs of depression similar to those that humans show by hanging their heads and avoiding positive actions.

Like us, sheep experience fear when they’re separated from their social groups or approached by strangers. Sheep’s heart rates have been found to increase by 20 beats per minute when they’re unable to see any members of their flock and by 84 beats per minute when approached by a man and a dog.

When PETA staff members Carrie and Jackie visited the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Maryland, they found out just how captivating sheep and lambs can be. Playful and puppy-like, the sheep wagged their tails when they were stroked. They affectionately nuzzled and head-butted the women in uggs outlet online order to get their attention.

One sheep, named Adam, who loved to cuddle and have his face stroked, made a big impression on the two staff members. “Adam was set to be a religious sacrifice before being rescued in the Washington, D.C., area. I couldn’t even begin to fathom such a hideous fate for the sheep who was softly stroking my neck with his warm, fuzzy face,” recalls Jackie.

Carrie also found that spending time with sheep was an eye-opening experience: “I had always seen sheep depicted as herd animals who didn’t have individual personalities. While I knew that this wasn’t true, my experience with such affectionate and personable sheep truly made me understand what unique animals they are and how horribly cruel it is that they suffer so greatly uggs outlet in wool production and live export.”

Although sheep are intelligent, social, emotional beings—just as humans are—the wool industry continues to abuse them in ways that could warrant cruelty-to-animals charges if dogs or cats were the victims. When they’re still lambs, sheep in Australia—the world’s leading exporter of merino wool—are subjected to mulesing, a cruel mutilation in which farmers carve skin and flesh from the animals’ backsides, often without giving them any painkillers. Every year, millions of unwanted Australian sheep are loaded onto extremely crowded multitiered cargo ships and sent on terrifying journeys to the Middle East or North Africa, where their throats are cut—often while they’re still conscious.



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