Posts for Tag : Wool

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.

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.

The Wool Industry

Sheep are gentle individuals who, like all animals, feel pain, fear, and loneliness. But because there’s a market for their fleece and skins, they’re treated as nothing more than wool-producing machines.

If they were left alone and not genetically manipulated, sheep would grow just enough wool to protect themselves from temperature extremes. The fleece provides them with effective insulation against both cold and heat.

Shearers are usually paid uggs outlet by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without any regard for the welfare of the sheep. This hasty and careless shearing leads to frequent injuries, and workers use a needle and thread to sew the worst wounds shut—without any pain relief. Strips of skin—and even teats, tails, and ears—are often cut or ripped off during shearing.

A PETA investigation of more than 30 shearing sheds in the U.S. and Australia uncovered rampant abuse. Shearers were caught punching, kicking, and stomping on sheep, in addition to hitting them in the face with electric clippers and standing on their heads, necks, and hind limbs. One shearer was seen beating a lamb in the head with a hammer. Another even used a sheep’s body to wipe the sheep’s own urine off the floor. And yet another shearer repeatedly twisted and bent a sheep’s neck, breaking it.

In Australia, where more than 50 percent of the world’s merino wool—which is used in products ranging from clothing to carpets—originates, lambs are forced to endure a gruesome procedure called “mulesing,” in which huge chunks of skin are cut from the animals’ backsides, often without any painkillers.

Within weeks of birth, lambs’ ears are hole-punched, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated without any painkillers. Male lambs are castrated when they are between 2 and 8 weeks old, either by making an incision and cutting their testicles out or with a rubber ring used to cut off blood supply—one of the most painful methods of castration possible. When the lambs’ testicles don’t fall off as expected, shearers often just cut off them with clippers. Every year, hundreds of lambs die before the age of 8 weeks from exposure or starvation, and mature sheep die every year from disease, lack of shelter, and neglect.

Unwanted Australian sheep are shipped to the Middle East on crowded multilevel ships. These voyages, which can last weeks, go to countries where animal welfare standards are non-existent. The suffering sheep are dragged off the ships, loaded onto trucks, and dragged by their ears and legs to slaughterhouses—which are often unregulated—where their throats are slit while they’re still conscious.

No amount of fluff can hide the fact that anyone who buys wool supports a cruel and bloody industry. There are plenty of durable, uggs boots outlet stylish, and warm fabrics available that aren’t made from wool or animal skins. Please join the millions of people all over the world who know that compassion is the fashion. Save a sheep—don’t buy wool.



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