Animal Rights Group to Mayor Kirk: ‘Big Merino’ Tells Only Half the Story of Wool
Goulburn – Following the news that a bill to end mulesing by 2022 wasn’t passed in New South Wales, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote to Goulburn Mayor Bob Kirk requesting permission to erect a second statue – of a giant mulesed lamb – next to the region’s “Big Merino”. The new sculpture, the group says, would address the fact that the current monument fails to depict the common and particularly pernicious practice of mulesing.
In the letter, PETA points out that over 70% of Australia’s wool comes from sheep who have been mulesed, a barbaric practice in which workers force live sheep onto their backs, restrain their legs between metal bars, and cut chunks of flesh from their backsides or attach vice-like clamps to their flesh until it dies and sloughs off – often without painkillers. This is terrifying for prey animals like sheep, who cry out in fear and pain. It also leaves them with open wounds which are, ironically, prone to flystrike, which mulesing ostensibly aims to prevent.
“We can only assume that the industry would welcome a statue designed to inform visitors about this element of wool production, given how hard it has fought for decades to continue the practice, even in the face of public outcry and worldwide designer boycotts,” writes PETA Senior Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “We urge Goulburn to depict honestly the barbaric nature of this procedure by erecting our proposed sculpture and dedicating it to the millions of sheep who have been and continue to be mutilated and abused for their wool.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear or abuse in any way” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – notes that over a decade has passed since the Australian wool industry’s self-imposed deadline to stop mulesing lapsed.