If you’re still wearing wool, I’m about to give you five reasons to stop.
Their names are Faith, Lily, Mae, Pete, and Lucy, and they are five sheep from Australia who were exploited for the wool industry.
Australia produces 25% of the world’s wool—this wool comes from sheep like Pete.
Pete was unable to move and close to death when the investigators found him. His only water supply was a black puddle that was contaminated by a rotting sheep’s carcass. Pete is the face of the wool industry.
Pete died about an hour after this picture was taken, having suffered alone for weeks.
In Australia, many sheep are specifically bred to have extra wrinkly skin, which means farmers can get more wool from each animal. This obviously makes it much hotter, and it can cause animals to die of heat exhaustion in the summer. The wrinkles also can collect urine and moisture—which attract flies, who then lay eggs in the sheep’s skin. This is called flystrike, and the maggots can actually eat the sheep alive, like they did Pete.
Australian ranchers often perform a barbaric operation—mulesing—carving pieces of skin off of the sheep. This is done to cause smooth, scarred skin that won’t harbor fly eggs, yet the bloody wounds often get flystrike before they heal and the cycle continues.
After years of this abuse, Australian sheep are often crammed onto filthy boats for live export to the Middle East—a trip that many do not survive—where they are dragged to slaughter and sometimes have their throats cut while they are conscious and struggling. Their flesh is then sold to be eaten.
How can you help animals like Pete? Don’t buy wool! I never want an animal to have to suffer so I can wear a sweater, do you? With so many wool-free options available today, avoiding wool is easier than ever. Just check clothing labels before you buy.