PETA, an animals rights activist organisation who recently have been focusing on fighting fur use, have now switched their attention to taking on the sheep industry, as reported by the Guardian.
The change of heart came after an incident in Australia over one year ago, where secret PETA footage of farmers were caught shearing sheep while on drugs was released, and showed them abusing the sheep in the process. The incident caused an uproar from animal rights activist across the globe, with PETA leading the charges. It resulted in the first convictions of cruelty for Sheep shearers in Australian history.
Co-Founder of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, described fur as now being a “minority issue”, despite the fur industry thriving as well as ever. Fur comes in all shapes and sizes now, from fur coats to phone cases or even key rings. Newkirk says the only people who now wear fur are “older people … ladies of the evening and the occasional foreign visitor from an unenlightened area”, which she says are not good advertisement for fur products.
PETA are now set to release a new ad campaign, with the slogan “I’d rather go naked than wear wool”. Surely this is a step too far?The story to break in Australia last year is no reflection of the sheep industry as a whole How many incidents have there been, bar that one, where sheep were abused by farmers high on drugs? Has it ever happened in Ireland? Doubtful.
Ingrid thinks PETA are on their way to winning the battle against wool use and says young people are very understanding of a sheep’s gentle nature.
“Young people, they’re right on top of it. They understand it. And sheep are so gentle, they’re so dear!” she said.
Ingrid went as far as comparing sheep shearing to punching them in the face, while she condemned shearers for not using painkillers. She also claimed “ lot” of shearers are high on drugs.
“The shearers, a lot of them are on amphetamines because they have to work at speed. Men punching these sheep. They smash them on their backs, they punch them on their face. With their fists, with the metal clippers, they sew them up without [painkiller].” she said.
The organisation have even garnered the support of Hollywood actor Joaquin Phoenix, who recently wore a “future-wool” suit in an ad campaign. It has to be said the secret footage captured by PETA of the Australian incident was outrageous and uncalled for, though how all sheep shearers can all be painted with the same brush is astounding, especially from an organisation focusing solely on rights. Surely a farmer/sheep shearer has the right to not be presumed to be a drug taking sheep shearer? Is PETA forgetting the health benefits connected to shearing a sheep, for the sheep?
Importance of shearing:
Sheeps wool grows continually all year round, meaning if you don’t shear it, the wool will become out of control. It is mainly carried out to prevent overheating of the animal come summer. As well as that a long fleece quickly becomes dirty and ragged whilst the sheep are out grazing, causing them a degree of discomfort. While a bulky fleece will also decrease your sheep’s mobility.
PETA calling for sheep shearing to stop for the animals health, is like telling a vegan to stop eating vegetables. It doesn't make sense and lacks logic. The whole basis of this campaign is to stop the sale of wool products, but seeing as sheep will be shorn regardless, is it not a waste to not use the wool?
It seems like PETA have finally given up the battle on fur, and are now trying to fight something with better odds of victory, although it seems incredibly unlikely.