ack in 2014, PETA exposed extreme cruelty to sheep in Australia, and six shearers pleaded guilty. The wool industry called that case a “wake-up call” that had forever changed it. But just days before those claims of reform, another eyewitness was inside the sheds seeing exactly the same abuse as before. In December 2017, the wool industry again condemned such cruelty, and again, it vowed that it and the shearers would do better.
But nothing has changed.
In late 2017, another eyewitness went inside 16 shearing sheds in South Australia and Victoria, documenting the same sickening cruelty that PETA has exposed again and again.
Workers still struck petrified sheep in the face with sharp metal clippers. They still cut them up and stitched up their gaping wounds without any pain relief. And they still threw them out of the sheds.
Based on this evidence, Victoria officials filed cruelty-to-animals charges and a shearer pleaded guilty. Officials in South Australia have opened a criminal investigation into the cruelty documented there.
Does this look better to you? Does it look like the industry has changed one bit?
What More Do You Need to See to Stop Wearing Wool?Over and over again, PETA has exposed the global wool industry’s systemic, pervasive cruelty to sheep.
Shearers still beat and jabbed gentle, docile sheep with sharp metal clippers and in the eyes, causing them to panic. They still punched them, slammed their heads into the hard wooden floor, stomped and stood on their necks, and hurled them out of the sheds.
The hurried, rough shearing left countless sheep cut and bleeding. Shearers didn’t give them any anesthetics before crudely sewing up their worst wounds by pushing the needles right through their flesh. Workers cut large swaths of sheep’s skin off, which stuck to the fleeces. Shearers called sheep “cunt” and “slut.” One shearer told a lamb he would “shove [the shearing clippers] up your [ass].”
This is PETA’s fifth exposé of the Australian sheep-shearing industry, revealing cruelty to sheep at a total of 43 farms across Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales.
Lambs Skinned Alive Show That 'Responsible' and 'Sustainable' Wool Isn't What You Think It isPETA and its international affiliates have documented cruelty to sheep at dozens more farms around the world—including in Argentina, where an eyewitness saw workers hack into fully conscious lambs and start to skin some of them while they were still alive and kicking on a farm in the Ovis 21 network—Patagonia’s wool supplier at the time.
Shearers Convicted on Historic Cruelty Charges—Another Breaks a Sheep's Neck, Killing HerPETA’s first, groundbreaking international wool industry exposé found shearers in Australia violently punching these gentle animals in the face and beating them in the head with sharp metal clippers and even a hammer. These attacks left the petrified sheep bleeding from the eyes, nose, and mouth. Officials charged six shearers with 70 counts of cruelty to animals, the first-ever charges anywhere in the world against wool-industry workers for abusing sheep. All six pleaded guilty.
It was no better for sheep in the United States, where an eyewitness documented abuse and neglect of sheep at 14 ranches across Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska. One shearer repeatedly twisted and bent a sheep’s neck until it broke. After the shearer kicked the sheep head-first down a chute, PETA’s eyewitness found her dead. The shearer bent, twisted, and threw his bodyweight on dozens of sheep’s necks and forelimbs and poked his fingers into their eyes. See for yourself.
The Wool Industry Gets Many 'Wake-Up Calls'—and Ignores Them AllThe Australian wool industry called PETA’s groundbreaking 2013–2014 case a “wake-up call” that had forever changed it. But clearly, it wasn’t. In 2015, an eyewitness working at a farm in South Australia saw a supervisor slamming a lamb against a wooden floor and throwing the young animal in a paddock to die. One worker kicked a sheep in the face, said to the animal, “You lay down again, you cunt, I’ll kill you,” and jammed his finger into the anuses of two other sheep to drive them up a ramp to the shearing stand.
Just as the Australian wool industry was again claiming to have made reforms in early 2017, another eyewitness was inside sheds in Victoria and New South Wales seeing exactly the same abuse as before. Workers punched, kicked, mutilated, and threw sheep down chutes like garbage bags. The cruelty was as severe as ever.
In 2018, an eyewitness worked on a sheep farm in Victoria and found the farm manager and workers mutilating terrified lambs in assembly line fashion. Then, an eyewitness in New South Wales and found that workers struck the gentle, frightened sheep in the face with sharp metal clippers.
More Lambs Mutilated and More Sheep Skinned Alive in South AmericaAnother 2015 PETA exposé of yet another farm in Argentina revealed that workers cut off parts of lambs’ ears, put tight rings around their scrotums, and cut off their tails—all without any pain relief.
In 2016, a PETA video exposé of two massive sheep farms in Chile revealed that gentle sheep who were no longer considered useful were mutilated and then killed and skinned—sometimes while still alive. Workers stabbed fully conscious sheep in the neck, causing them to kick and struggle as they bled to death.
Pregnant Sheep Cut and Whipped for Another Patagonia-Approved Wool ProducerAfter PETA’s 2015 video exposé showing workers for Patagonia’s previous so-called sustainable wool supplier hacking into fully conscious sheep and starting to skin some of them while they were still kicking, Patagonia severed ties with the farms. In early 2017, PETA observers visited a massive sheep-shearing operation in Utah where thousands of sheep from Red Pine Land & Livestock, LLC, which was listed on Patagonia’s website as an approved supplier until the day it saw PETA’s exposé, were sheared each year.
The necks of heavily pregnant sheep were twisted. They were yanked by their fleece and whipped. After they were shorn and had virtually no wool left to protect them from the elements, they were driven out into the desert and left there to give birth as temperatures dropped to as low as 32 degrees.
Sheep Beaten, Cut, and Stomped on in England and ScotlandIn the summer of 2018, a PETA Asia investigation revealed routine abuse of sheep on 25 British farms visited by two shearing contractors. Workers punched gentle sheep in the face, struck them with metal clippers, stood on their necks, and slammed their heads into the floor.
One shearer shouted at a panicked sheep, “Cut your fucking throat!”
A PETA Asia eyewitness investigation of the Scottish wool industry documented that shearers punched terrified sheep, stomped on their necks, and threw them off shearing trailers.
Please Help Stop This!Look in your dresser and closet. Are you still wearing wool? If you are, please stop. Now is the time to rid your home of wool. What more do you need to see before you stop wearing wool? How many more thousands of sheep need to be beaten, cut open, kicked, thrown down chutes, skinned alive, and killed via throat-slashing?
No matter where it comes from or what assurances companies give you, cruelty to sheep is rampant in the wool industry. Eddie Bauer and Eileen Fisher, which sell dozens of items made of wool, tout their commitment to the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS). But what are the RWS and its shearing guidelines worth? Less than the paper they’re printed on, if you ask the sheep who were abused where they hang.
Please, join us in urging Eddie Bauer and Eileen Fisher to drop the charade—and wool—in favor of animal-friendly materials.