Wool

1f.gif (12367 bytes) 2f.gif (13268 bytes) 3f.gif (7796 bytes) 4f.gif (9966 bytes) 5f.gif (2678 bytes) 6f.gif (7368 bytes) 7f.gif (15017 bytes) 8f.gif (2438 bytes)

Sheep in India contribute to its wool consumption, but Australia supplies 80 percent of the world’s wool. Many people believe that shearing sheep helps animals who might otherwise be burdened by too much wool, but without human interference, sheep grow just enough wool to protect themselves from extreme temperatures.

In Australia, just weeks after birth, lambs' ears are punched, their tails are chopped off, and males are castrated without anesthetic. Extremely high rates of mortality are considered "normal". Twenty-40 percent of lambs die at birth or before the age of 8 weeks from cold and starvation. Eight million mature sheep die every year from disease, lack of shelter and neglect. One million of these die within 30 days of shearing.

Australian sheep are specially bred to have wrinkly skin (which means more wool per animal). This unnatural overload of wool causes many of the animals to die of heat exhaustion during warm seasons. The wrinkles collect urine and moisture which attract flies to lay their eggs. Sheep can literally be eaten alive by maggots when the eggs hatch. To prevent "flystrike" Australian ranchers perform a barbarous operation called "mulesing" in which huge strips of skin are carved off the backs of unanesthetized lambs’ legs. 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 despite the feeling by many that mulesing kills more sheep than it saves, the mutilation continues.

Sheep-shearers are paid by volume, not by hour, which encourages working quickly and carelessly. Says one eyewitness, "The shearing shed must be one of the worst places in the world for cruelty to animals. I have seen shearers punch sheep with their sheers or fists until the sheep’s noses bled. I have seen sheep with half their faces shorn off".

Alternatives to Wool

Cotton, cotton flannel, polyester fleece and other synthetic fibers wash easily, cost less and don’t contribute to cruelty

Fur


Fur obtained from abused animals is converted into garments, bags, purses, sandals, caps, gloves and other products typically seen at hill stations and Kashmir emporiums. Fur comes either from animals that were cruelly trapped in the wild or "farms" in which animals are specially bred to be killed.

Traps are laid in the forest only to be checked days or weeks later. Meanwhile, the trapped animal suffers terror, extreme pain, broken bones and starvation. Many trapped animals are killed by predators, while an estimated one out of four chews off their own limbs in a desperate attempt to escape. Traps often capture nonfur bearing animals, who are considered "trash" by the industry.

Animals raised on "farms" for fur suffer from confinement and are gassed, electrocuted, strangled and stomped and have their necks broken. Some of these methods are not 100 percent effective, and many animals "wake up" while being skinned. In India, rabbits were the first animal farmed for fur.

Alternatives to Fur

There are many garments and accessories made from synthetic materials that look and feel like fur but do not support the cruelty of the fur industry.