Addressing PETA’s Anti-Wool Campaign
Fair warning, the picture PETA published, which I will be including, is gory and bloody.
So here we go.
A few weeks ago, I first saw this PETA campaign picture:
As someone who works with sheep and shears sheep to pay for extra expenses, I was outraged. I had no clue what they did to that poor lamb (Found out its a foam replica). Besides the fact that it looks too small to shear, it looks like someone took a chain saw to it, or it was skinned not sheared.
So I wanted to address this. In shearing a sheep, goat, cow, or pig, you do not want to cut the animal. If its done right, you will not cut the animal. I know its hard not to let nicks happen. Animals move, jump, and flinch. Most shearers take very good care of their animals. If I, for example as a shearer, cut up the sheep I’ve been assigned to shear to the point where they have open and bleeding cuts, I would not be asked back. I would not have another job. Word gets around fast about shearers that hurt and cut up the sheep. Several years ago, there was a group of guys that sheared sheep for the members of the local herding dog club. They mishandled sheep and just moved speedily through them, leaving ewes bloody and stressed. You wanna know what happened to that group? They’re no longer in business. They don’t shear because word got around that they mishandled the animals.
I will say, shearing sheep is a tiring job that will leave you sore at the end of the day, no matter if you do one sheep or one hundred. I only average 3-6 sheep a day, so I have to give it to any shearer that shears whole herds in a day, from 30-100. Its hard work, but they do a good job.
Shearing, in its process, is simple. You restrain the sheep, either by setting it on its rear off its feet or tying it to the fence. You have to restrain the sheep or you could injure it if it tries to run or squirm. You then use a set of shears, manual or electric, to shave off the hair. Its just like how we shave, but we use a razor. Sheep are not hurt, and the process can be from a few minutes to an hour (like me). Shearers are paid by the quantity of sheep (usually) not the hours of work. This means that the shearers can spend the time to make sure the sheep get sheared right.
Below, I’m posting some pictures of what sheep really look like after they’ve been sheared:
These are from two different herds that I helped with this past spring. It was a relief for these sheep to be sheared.
But why do we shear sheep?
We sheer sheep for a variety of reasons. For the number one reason, its to remove the hair from the sheep. Sheep started as being used for wool and meat. Early sheep farmers cut off the sheep’s wool to be used for clothing, bedding, and other clothe items that came with eating the sheep too.
Now, farms that raise sheep for anything but wool or hair production, we shear the sheep to keep them comfortable. Where I’m from and where I go to college now, its not unusual for temperatures to be over 100 degrees F for the majority of the day, sheep with a full coat of wool/hair are miserable! It can also be deadly. They can’t cool down like they should and are very susceptible to over heating and heat stroke. That’s why we shear in the spring, before it gets too hot. It also allows the sheep to grow a little bit of wool back to act as sunscreen. We also shear off the wool/hair yearly to keep sheep clean. As sheep poop and pee, it gets on their wool/hair. As their wool/hair grows, it can cover up the sheep’s back end, and eventually, the anus of the sheep. That will make it very easy for bacteria to get back up into the sheep’s body and make them sick or even kill them.
So in conclusion, this sums up my point:
Shearing the sheep doesn’t hurt it. It certainly doesn’t kill the sheep. Its actually beneficial for the sheep to be sheared.