A shearer once held an almost godlike status in Australian culture, but a quick look inside a shearing shed these days is enough to shatter that archaic image.
New video footage released by PETA from a shearing shed in Birregurra, Victoria, in 2022 shows just how gory the industry is and why more fashion designers, consumers, and even job seekers are distancing themselves from the wool industry.
Careless and Rushed Shearing
The video shows a sheep who has been badly wounded on the chest during shearing. Blood pours out of the animal as the shearer uses a huge needle and thread to crudely stitch up the bloody gash. No pain relief or veterinary care is provided.
It’s painful even to watch – just imagine how it felt for the sheep.
This is far from the first time a PETA exposé has captured this practice on video, and that’s because rushed, careless shearing is par for the course in this profit-driven industry.
In shearing sheds, workers race against the clock because they’re paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages rushed and rough shearing.
To make matters worse, sheep are prey animals who are instinctively terrified of being pinned down. The shearing process is stressful for them, making the shearer’s job more difficult, as the animals sometimes make desperate attempts to escape.
Hours of eyewitness footage compiled by PETA over the years show how shearers hit sheep with closed fists and electric clippers, kneel on their necks with their full weight, and slam them into the floor.
Even Shearers Have Had Enough
While sheep are clearly the victims of the wool trade, it’s not an industry that protects human rights, either, and fewer Australians are signing up for jobs in shearing sheds than ever before.
Worker shortages are so dire that Australian Wool Innovation, has invested $1.4 million in developing new “defleecing” chemicals – as if stopping the breeding of sheep with an overburden of wool and moving to plant alternatives weren’t the most obvious solutions.
Help Sheep Now
Evidence that wool is cruelly produced is mounting, and shoppers are searching for materials that don’t cause animals to suffer.
Please help sheep by leaving wool out of your wardrobe and choosing from the huge variety of plant-based materials on offer instead.
Anyone who watches this video will see that wearing wool leaves blood on their hands. Please share this footage with your friends and family.