Back in 2014, PETA exposed the extreme abuse of sheep in Australia, and six shearers pleaded guilty to cruelty charges. The wool industry said that it was a “wake-up call” that had forever changed it. But just days before the industry claimed that it had been reformed, an eyewitness saw the same abuse occurring in the shearing sheds. In December 2017, the wool industry again condemned the cruelty, and – again – it vowed that it and the shearers would do better.
But nothing has changed.
In late 2017, an eyewitness went inside 16 shearing sheds in South Australia and Victoria and documented the same sickening cruelty that PETA has repeatedly exposed.
Workers still struck petrified sheep in the face with sharp metal clippers. They still cut them and stitched up their gaping wounds without any pain relief. And they still threw them out of the sheds.
Now, after a two-year investigation by officials in Victoria, a shearer has faced court and pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals.
Officials in South Australia also opened a criminal investigation into the cruelty documented there.
As more cruelty is revealed and another shearer pleads guilty, does it look like the industry has changed one bit?
What More Do You Need to See to Stop Wearing Wool?
Time and again, PETA and its affiliates have exposed the global wool industry’s systemic and pervasive cruelty towards sheep.
The latest exposé showed that shearers still beat and jabbed gentle, docile sheep with sharp metal clippers, including in the eyes, causing them to panic. They still punched them, slammed their heads into the floor, stamped 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 anaesthetics before crudely sewing up their gaping wounds with a needle and thread. Workers cut large swaths of sheep’s skin off because it stuck to the fleece. They called sheep “cunt” and “slut”. One told a lamb that he would “shove [the shearing clippers] up your [ass]”.
This is the fifth exposé of the Australian sheep-shearing industry, revealing cruelty to sheep at 43 farms across Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales.
Lambs Skinned Alive Are Proof That There’s No Such Thing as ‘Responsible’ or ‘Sustainable’ Wool
PETA’s international affiliates have documented cruelty to sheep at dozens of wool farms around the world, including in Argentina, where an eyewitness saw workers hack apart conscious lambs and start to skin some of them while they were still alive and kicking at a facility in the Ovis 21 network – Patagonia’s wool supplier at the time.
Shearers Convicted of Historic Cruelty Charges – Another Breaks a Sheep’s Neck, Killing Her
The first groundbreaking exposé of the international wool industry found that shearers in Australia violently punched these gentle animals in the face and beat them in the head with sharp metal clippers and even a hammer. The 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.
Things were no better in the United States, where an eyewitness documented the 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 she was kicked head-first down a chute, PETA US’ 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 Has Had Many Wake-Up Calls – and Has Ignored Them All
The Australian wool industry called PETA US’ groundbreaking exposé in 2014 a “wake-up call” that had forever changed it. But nothing changed. 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, “You lay down again, you cunt, I’ll kill you,” and jammed his finger into the anuses of two other sheep in order to drive them up a ramp to the shearing stand.
Just as the Australian wool industry claimed again to have made reforms in early 2017, an eyewitness was in shearing sheds in Victoria and New South Wales and saw the same abuse that had been seen before. Workers punched, kicked, and mutilated sheep and threw them down chutes as if they were garbage. The cruelty was as severe as ever.
In 2018, an eyewitness 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 America
In 2015, an 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 video exposé of two massive wool 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 conscious sheep in the neck, causing them to kick and struggle as they bled to death.
Pregnant Sheep Cut and Whipped for Patagonia-Approved Wool Producer
After PETA US’ 2015 video exposé showed workers at Patagonia’s so-called “sustainable wool” supplier hacking apart conscious sheep and starting to skin some of them while they were still kicking, the company severed its ties with the farms. In early 2017, 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 PETA US’ exposé – were sheared each year.
Workers twisted the necks of heavily pregnant sheep, yanked them by their wool, and whipped them. 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 to give birth as temperatures dropped to 0 degrees.
Sheep Beaten, Cut, and Stamped On in the UK
In 2018, a PETA Asia investigation revealed the routine abuse of sheep on 25 British farms that were visited by two shearing contractors. Workers punched 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, “[I’ll] [c]ut your fucking throat!”
A PETA Asia eyewitness investigation of the Scottish wool industry documented that shearers punched terrified sheep, stamped on their necks, and threw them off shearing trailers.
Please Help Stop This
Look in your closet. Are you still wearing wool? If you are, please stop, and make sure that you don’t have any wool in your home. What more do you need to see before you stop using this cruelly obtained material? Help prevent thousands of sheep from being beaten, cut open, kicked, and thrown down chutes.