For Immediate Release:
28 February 2020

Undercover Video Shows Sheep Punched, Cut to Shreds, Left for Dead

Melbourne – Following a two-year PETA Asia undercover investigation into the Australian wool industry, a sheep shearer has pleaded guilty of cruelty to animals at Horsham Magistrates‘ Court. Video footage revealed that the worker punched frightened sheep, stamped and stood on their heads and necks, and beat them about the face with heavy electric clippers. The evidence was gathered by an eyewitness who worked for two shearing contractors in shearing sheds in South Australia and Victoria. An investigation by RSPCA South Australia is ongoing.

This is the 13th investigation of the global wool industry that PETA’s international affiliates have undertaken since 2014, when the first exposé resulted in the world’s first-ever cruelty-to-animals convictions of sheep shearers. Facing increasing pressure to drop wool, the industry created the meaningless Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) in 2016, which a handful of companies now comply with in an attempt to defend their wool sales. However, PETA and its affiliates have continued to expose the same cruelty to sheep in shearing sheds since the RWS was created, and RWS documents were displayed on a wall in one of the shearing sheds featured in the latest exposé.

“Shearers continue to be caught beating, stamping on, and otherwise badly injuring sheep as if these terrified animals had no feelings,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “These new cruelty charges show that the Responsible Wool Standard is a sham, and PETA is advising Australian retailers to stop duping consumers by supporting a product tied to such abuse, and switch to animal-friendly fibres.”

The latest exposé from PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – also reveals that two sheep died from conditions that workers called “heart attacks”, likely resulting from stress during shearing. Others were dragged into the sun and left without water or care for hours before they finally died. Farmers also cut the necks of unwanted sheep, apparently while they were fully conscious.

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