What could you really be paying for if you buy ‘Italian wool’ from J.Crew and others?
A PETA video exposé of two massive sheep farms in Chile reveals that gentle sheep were mutilated and then killed and skinned—sometimes while still alive—when they were no longer considered useful. After being privately alerted to the situation by PETA, Brooks Brothers made the decision not to purchase wool from a supplier associated with these farms.
It’s estimated that less than 1 percent of the world’s wool actually comes from sheep raised and sheared in Italy—for example, at least 30 percent of wool produced in Chile is sent to Italy—yet J.Crew, Coach, and other companies all over the world sell “luxury Italian wool” that belies its true origin and the cruelty involved in its production.
Lambs Torn Away From Their MothersAn eyewitness found that lambs were separated from their mothers soon after they were born and cried out pitifully. When they tried to jump through the fence to get back to their mothers, workers chased and grabbed them, then dropped them back into a separate pen.
Mutilated Without Pain ReliefWorkers notched and punched holes in the lambs’ ears. To remove their tails, workers either cut them off with a dull knife, sometimes requiring up to five slashes, or tightly banded them—one worker told an eyewitness that banded tails would fall off after a month. All this was done without any pain relief.
Cut, Kicked, and Struck With a RakeSheep were crammed tightly into sheds before being sheared. As is common in the wool industry, rough, fast shearing left many sheep cut and bleeding. One worker poured oil over a sheep’s bloody wound, and another sprayed a wound with insecticide. Workers also kicked, shoved, stomped, and stepped on the sheep, as well as striking them with a rake to push them out of the shearing shed. The eyewitness never saw them receive any veterinary care, even for gaping wounds.
Destined for SlaughterSheep who were no longer wanted for their wool were marked with paint to indicate that they should be sent to slaughter. Workers also tightly tied the legs of some unwanted lambs together and shoved them onto a flat-bed truck bound for slaughter. Lambs, including the one pictured below who was named René by PETA, thrashed around, banging their heads against the floor as they tried to escape.
Killed and Skinned AliveWorkers stabbed fully conscious sheep in the neck. The sheep kicked and struggled as they bled to death. One worker took out his mobile phone while a sheep— pinned down under his knee—fought for her life.
The dying sheep seen below, named Ariel by PETA, was carried into a room to be skinned but continued to kick for two minutes. Video footage shows one sheep who was literally skinned alive.
You Can Help Us Stop This Cruelty!The cruelty documented on these Chilean sheep farms is not unique, and similar abuses have been documented in the United States and Argentina as well as Australia—the world’s largest wool exporter. Please, when shopping for clothes, don’t forget the gentle sheep who suffer in the wool industry all around the world, and choose items that don’t contain wool. It’s easy to check the label, and if it says “Italian wool”—or any kind of wool—just leave it on the shelf.
Do more: Urge Chilean officials to prosecute workers who cut into the necks of fully conscious sheep—without doing anything to minimize their pain—in apparent violation of Chile’s animal protection law.