Tell Australia’s New Prime Minister to End Sheep Abuse

Care2 writer, Kayla Coleman wrote Think Wool is a Great Alternative to Fur? Think Again, which details the truth behind the wool industry. 

The wearing of fur in the name of fashion is considered by most an unnecessary and cruel practice. After all, the animal is killed for their fur, not to mention the often inhumane ways in which they are forced to live before their brutal deaths.

But many people mistakenly assume animals raised for their wool don’t suffer — that the industry can’t be that cruel because the sheep are kept alive.  It is, however, an erroneous assumption that wool-bearing animals are not harmed simply because they remain alive.  

The living conditions of wool-bearing animals — primarily sheep, yak and goats — who are forced to live in factory farm-like conditions are no better off than chickens forced to live in battery cages, who aren’t given enough room to even spread their wings or perform other movements natural to their species.

Mulesing is a practice commonly performed in Australia. It consists of removing wrinkled skin around a sheep’s peri-anal area to prevent flystrike.  Flystrike (myiases) is a painful condition for sheep because fly larvae use the already fecal and urine soaked wrinkled folds of skin on the sheep’s rear end to lay eggs that develop into maggots, which feed off the sheep’s blood supply.


Animal suffering is not acceptable on any level.  So the argument that mulesing prevents the suffering of flystrike may seem logical to some.  Look closely at the procedure; it is done without anesthesia or post-operative analgesia.  How does that not cause suffering? 

Merino sheep are the most common breed of sheep raised in Australia due to their abundant growth of fine wool. These animals can be shaved several times per year.  In other words — there is more profit to be made from Merino sheep.  They are also genetically abundant with skin folds, causing them a higher susceptibility to flystrike.  In November of 2004, the Australian wool industry agreed to phase out mulesing by December 31, 2010.  Now the date is quickly approaching and the promise has been reneged.

PETA President, Ingrid Newkirk recently sent a letter to the newly-elected Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister.  The letter asks for an end to mulesing in Australia.  

Follow Newkirk’s lead and help bring an end to this cruel act. Sign the Care2 petition asking Prime Minister Gillard to stop mulesing once and for all.

Why not consider abandoning wool as an acceptable option in your lifestyle?  There are plenty of non-animal derived fabrics that provide warmth.  Will you make the commitment? 

photo credit: thanks to BotheredByBees via flickr


Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago

Thanks for he information.

Alex H.
Alex H6 years ago

As a person who lives in a sheep-shearing country,it really irks me to see thousands of sheep being shorn when it suits the farmer not when it suits the sheep.Therefore,it is not uncommon to see poor sheep,having been denuded of their protective coat,out in cold and wet weather,in Spring.This is plain wrong! Animal welfare laws state that animals should be provided with shelter from the weather,but it is not uncommon to see animals with no shade or protection.I loathe mulesing,a disgusting practice but I have also seen fly-blown sheep,where the poor animal is literally eaten alive by maggots.I agree that there are breeds of sheep that have no place in countries like Australia because they often fall victim to flystrike,because of their thick wool.More people are turning to Dorpers which shed their wool.As for the live exports,this heinous activity must be stopped and reverted to a carcass trade.If New Zealand could do it,so can Australia.Those farmers involved in this,and their industry bodies,like the Meat and Livestock Corporations,have no consciences.If they have to be forced to become humane,then so be it!!!The Australian Government is being absolutely gutless over this;it is shameful!

Pauli Kesäläinen

Lampaat ovat kauniita ja lempeitä ystäviä ihmisille, pidetään niitä lemmikkeinä ja hoidetaan lempeästi ja rakastaen. Kiitos.

dianna Inscoe
di inscoe6 years ago

don't wear wool nor do I support the fur industry! I believe they both are barbaric practices and if GOD wanted me to be fur-cladden or covered with fleece, I would be. This day & time there are too many alternatives to keeping warm other than stripping animals of their natural covering!

Philippa P.
Philippa P8 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Scott V.
Scott haakon8 years ago

Humane? Get real no producer will damage his animals yet when he protects them some do-gooder nutter has to make a big deal. Shearing sheep is to produce a fabric that although heasy will retain warmth when wet!

Brittany T.
Brittany T8 years ago


monica r.
monica r8 years ago

I'm pretty sure we are just all going to have to sit around naked until we starve to death.

Cotton is no more "cruelty free" than silk. Here's info about ORGANIC cotton:
"Several caterpillar pests feed on cotton bolls, squares, and blooms, including cutworms, armyworms, loopers, and bollworms. The organic pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) attacks all these pests by paralyzing the caterpillar’s digestive tract."

That is sadistic. And it would be the height of speciesism to suggest that the suffering and death of a boll weevil matters less than that of a silk worm, or any other sentient being, such as sheep, simply because the arrogance of humanity deems them to be "pests". Similar atrocities, by the way, are found in organic food production as well.

Meanwhile, I was told by a vegan friend that it is wrong to wear something that has ever come from an animal. So even if you can ignore the ecological devastation of the petroleum industry (which I personally can't), you are out of luck on the synthetic fibers, also.

Petroleum is formed from ancient biomass, plants and animals from eons ago. Since I'm sure that those animals had no idea that one day humans would evolve from them, they could not possibly grant consent for us to wear their remains as clothing.

I won't like giving up clothes come winter. It's not so bad now. My real worry is if the seeds I planted in a panic this morning will produce anything edible before I die of starvation.

antonia m.
antonia maestre8 years ago

Mahatmas Gandhi

Diane L.
Diane L8 years ago

Al S., where on EARTH do you get the idea that sheep are killed for their wool? Geez, ever hear of electric clippers? I bet you have a Toy Poodle that's clipped and wears a cutsie little ribbon on it's topknot. Okay,that was sarcastic, but I'm so sick of the ridiculously uninformed comments that get posted after people get sucked in by mis-information written by uniformed authors who haven't done their "homework"!

Israel is hardly a country that should be tauted as the "poster child" for humanity towards anything. Let's see, seems to me they just killed 16 innocent people who were trying to simply provide medical supplies to those caught up in a political struggle.

Rosemary! Really.........."sadism"? Do you even know the meaning of that word? How do you compute shearing a sheep for it's wool with electric clippers or performing a necessary surgical procedure to save the animal's life from a grizzly death (being eaten alive by maggots) sadism? Sadism means receiving pleasure by providing PAIN to another being. I highly doubt the sheep owners enjoy inflicting pain on their livestock! I think they might get "pleasure" by knowing that what they did might mean their animals won't die a horrible death.

There are many things that are done to animals for their own good which might temporarily cause discomfort, yes, even pain. Instead of ranting about those procedures without knowing about them, why not think of alternatives that might work BETTER?