Investigations Show Sheep Killed, Punched, Stamped on and Cut for Wool

Posted on by Ashley Fruno

You’ve never seen anything like this before. These videos will make you think twice about buying that wool sweater or scarf.

Disturbing PETA US eyewitness investigations – the first of their kind – reveal that workers beat, stamped on, kicked, mutilated and threw sheep around as they sheared them in Australia, the world’s top wool exporter. The investigation of US farms showed further abuses, including of one sheep whose neck was twisted until the animal died.

As you can see in this groundbreaking video footage, sheep shearers violently punched these gentle animals in the face and beat and jabbed them in the head with sharp metal clippers and even a hammer. These attacks often left the petrified sheep bleeding from their eyes, noses and mouths.

PETA US’ video exposé highlights just some of the cruelty observed in all 19 shearing sheds in Australia visited by investigators, who documented 70 workers employed by nine shearing contractors who abused sheep in Victoria and New South Wales – Australia’s top wool-producing states – and South Australia. Annually, these contractors’ workers may shear a total of more than 4 million sheep.

Sheep are deprived of food and water before being sheared, in part so that they’ll feel weak and put up minimal resistance. As one shearer explained, “Imagine if someone attacked you after … you’d been starved for 24 hours – you wouldn’t have much of a fight”.

But when these prey animals panicked – terrified of being pinned down – the shearers stamped and stood on their heads and necks. Workers threw scared sheep around and slammed their heads and bodies against hard wooden floors.

Shearers are often paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast, violent work and can lead to severe cuts on sheep’s bodies – even on at least one sheep’s penis. Large swaths of skin were cut or ripped off the bodies of many sheep by the shearers.

When they’re first sheared – a highly stressful experience – lambs cry out loudly because, according to one worker, “they’ve been separated from their mums and they’re calling for them.… They’re going, ‘Mom!Mom!'”

When one lamb cried out during shearing, a worker yelled, “Pull it out! … [You’re] hurtin’ ‘er”, crudely joking that the shearer was raping the lamb.

One shearer even used a sheep’s body to wipe the sheep’s own urine off the hard wooden floor.

Workers didn’t give sheep any painkillers before pushing needles through their flesh to try to sew up gaping, bloody wounds caused by shearing. The investigators never saw any veterinarian provide injured sheep with veterinary care.

Farmers put tight rings on some lambs’ scrotums without anaesthetics to castrate them. When their testicles didn’t fall off as expected, shearers just cut off the lambs’ scrotums and testicles with their shears.

Injured and unprofitable sheep were shot to death in full view of other sheep and even butchered. Each year, millions of sheep – including those no longer wanted for their wool – are shipped from Australia to the Middle East and North Africa on severely crowded multi-tiered ships. Some die in transit, and those who survive the journey are slaughtered by having their throats cut while they’re still conscious.

You Can Help Stop This!

The best thing that you can do for sheep is refuse to buy wool! It’s easy to check the label when you’re shopping. If it says “wool”, leave it on the shelf.

Posted by Claire Fryer