START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
Mar 31, 2006
Type: Tribute (for the living)
To Honor: Individual(s)
Location: , United States
by Amy Elizabeth (

March 21 - As I write this, I'm warding off the winter chill with a cotton turtleneck, a polyester fleece pullover, polyester long underwear, cotton corduroys and acrylic socks. But not so much as a stitch of wool. Why not? Because I don't buy wool. For ethical reasons.

Most people look at you funny when you say you don't wear wool. "Oh, you're allergic, right?" Nope. "Hate the dry-cleaning?" Yes, but that's not the only reason. "It's too heavy? Smells funny? Takes too long to dry?" Yes, yes and yes, but still no cigar.

When you confess that your primary reason for forgoing fleece is for the benefit of the sheep, foreheads start to pucker. Most people envision a sheep farm to be something like Farmer Hoggett's in the movie "Babe," sans the talking pig, of course. You know, rolling hills, perky sheep dogs, cozy barns, that sort of
thing. While bucolic, blissful farms like this may still exist somewhere in James Herriot's Yorkshire, that's not where most of the wool we buy comes from.

Chances are, no matter where you live, your wool comes from the land down under. With 120 million sheep, Australia is the world's largest producer of Merino wool (the kind used for most clothing). Flocks usually consist of thousands of sheep, so it's impossible for farmers to treat them with the tender loving care
Farmer Hoggett and his talented pig would provide.

Australian sheep are basically on their own. They get rounded up and tossed into the sheep dip every once in a while, but mostly, it's just them, the kangaroos and the, uh-oh, dingoes.

When the shepherd does "tend" to them, lambs have their tails amputated without anesthetic. Little boy lambs are particularly blue because they are castrated without painkillers. Ouch. Shearing isn't a walk in the park, either, since it is automated and done at lightning speed to accommodate such huge numbers of animals. Protruding sheep parts accidentally get lopped off. Shades of Lorena Bobbitt, if you catch my drift.

The Australians mainly raise Merino sheep because their wrinkly skin produces more wool per animal. Trouble is, the wrinkles collect urine and moisture, which attracts flies, which lay eggs, which hatch into maggots, and ... you get the picture. So the colonists came up with an ingenious (or egregious - you be the
judge) solution: They slice a chunk of skin off the lamb's rear end in order to create a massive scar that pulls the skin tighter, reducing wrinkles. Yes, it's just as gruesome as you're imagining, and the wounds often become infested with flies before they heal. But, hey, if it was good enough for grandpa, it's good enough for me, mate.

The worst is still to come for these fuzzy denizens of the outback. Once sheep become old or unproductive, they are shipped to slaughter. In Australia, this usually means being herded onto trucks and transported huge distances overland to the coast, where they are loaded onto ships bound for the Middle East.

The ships are huge - up to 14 tiers high - with up to 125,000 sheep packed like sardines into each one.

The journey can take several weeks; many sheep die of sickness, trampling or starvation when they are unable to reach the food trough.

Why not just kill the sheep in Australia and ship the meat to the Middle East? Because Middle Eastern consumers want flesh that has been butchered ritually, which means no prior stunning. The sheep's throats are slit while they are fully conscious.

So that's why I boycott wool. And you know what? I manage to keep quite warm and toasty without it. No matter what the wool industry may say, nothing keeps you warmer than polyester fleece. It's lightweight and water repellent, two things wool is not.

Throw on a layer of Gore-Tex and you're ready for a kayak trip down the Nantahala in February - or even just a stroll around the grounds at Biltmore. Your body will stay plenty warm without wool, but warmest of all may be your heart.

Amy Elizabeth has a degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Colorado. She lives in Morganton.
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted: Mar 31, 2006 10:26am
Jan 27, 2006
Focus: Animal Welfare
Action Request: Protest
Location: United States

Jan 24 - The RSPCA is volunteering to put down cane toads found around Darwin, saying it is inhumane to freeze the animals or club them with cricket bats.

It anticipates that it will cost about $1 per toad to use a chemical that puts them to sleep and then kills them.

It is the same drug used to put down cats and dogs.

The RSPCA's Lindsay Wilkinson says encouraging children to attack toads could have psychological as well as physical repercussions.

"If you didn't want to think about the humane aspects, if you hit a cane toad and it explodes in your face the toxin is powerful enough to cause permanent eye damage," he said.

"People don't think about that sort of thing. Who's going to explain why little Johnny can't see any more?"

He says the disadvantages of trying to club toads have been shown in Queensland.

"There's cane toads up there wandering around with split livers and fractured skulls," he said.

"So the worst scenario is a cane toad hops next door injured and the neighbour's family pet comes along and eats it and dies."
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , ,
Posted: Jan 27, 2006 8:11pm


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.


pElAgUS hellot
, 1
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Shares by Type:
All (1001) | Blog (255) | Alert (445) | Poll (4) | Recipe (12) | Photo (11) | Tribute (59) | Message (215)

Showing shares tagged with: down [show all]
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\r\\n“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.”\\r\\n\\r\\ n \\r\\n\\r\\nSpence r Johnson\\r\\n\\r\\n  \\r\\n\\r\\nMany years ago, when I was in high school chemistry lab, I was assigned to do a litm...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
New Petition! Speak out against Time-Warner Merger with Comcast! Let your opinion be know before your bill goes up and your programming choices dwindle.\\r\\n\\r\\nUrge DOJ and FCC to Not Allow Merger of Time-Warner and Comcast\\r\\nhttp://www.t hepetitionsi...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nI have recently posted some BlogSpot radio interviews and YouTube videos, publicizing my two new books,\\r\\n1) Deepening Your Personal Relationships: Developing Emotional Intimacy and Good Communication.\\r\\n2) Psychological Healing Through Creative S...
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nCoretta Scott King: “We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the ...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nWe declare that no man nor nation nor race have a greater right than others to enjoy the fruits of their work, as the ecological sphere is our common condition of life http://www.beat Nous déclarons qu\\\'auc...
by Ys A.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nauthor: Ralph Nader\\r\\n\\r\\nAn epidemic of sky-rocketing medical costs has afflicted our country and grown to obscene proportions. Medical bills are bloated with waste, redundancy, profiteering, fraud and outrageous over-billing. Much is wrong with t...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nDear Friends:\\r\\n\\r\\n\\r\\ n\\r\\nMy two current books have been published and are available for sale through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the publisher’s website, Hammer. Reading these books can be very helpful for anyone...
by Fred H.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\nA stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming poo...
by Fred H.
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
\\r\\nThe Olympic Peninsula is home to important state-owne d forests and many of our state’s most iconic creatures. To keep these forest ecosystems healthy, WEC and our partners at Conservation Northwe st and Olympic Forest Coal...