These Videos Show How Sheep Suffer for Wool
Shocking exposés by PETA entities have shown the world that sheep suffer terribly when they’re used for fashion.
No matter the farm, no matter the continent—when we’ve gone into shearing sheds, we’ve found that sheep are abused (and eventually killed) for their wool. The disturbing eyewitness video footage—gathered in 14 exposés of 117 wool operations on four continents—is impossible to deny and reveals that workers in the global wool industry beat, stomped on, kicked, mutilated, and threw terrified, gentle sheep.
This abuse is sewn into the wool coats, hats, socks, and other garments sold in stores everywhere.
Don’t believe it?
Watch the bloody videos below to see why wearing wool is no different from wearing fur, leather, or any other animal-derived material.
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.
Sheep shearers in Australia violently punched 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 the eyes, noses, and mouths.
Things are no better for sheep in the United States, where PETA documented abuse at 14 ranches across Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. One shearer bent and twisted dozens of sheep’s necks and forelimbs—breaking one’s neck—bounced his bodyweight on them, and poked his fingers in their eyes.
In Argentina, workers at a farm that supplied wool to Patagonia picked up gentle lambs and—while they were fully conscious—tied their legs together, plunged knives into their throats, and sawed through their flesh. Then they snapped the animals’ heads back to break their necks.
At another farm in Argentina, workers cut off parts of lambs’ ears, put tight rings around their scrotums, and cut off their tails—all without any pain relief. As you can see in this video, shearers hit sheep with electric clippers, slammed them to the hard floor, and kicked and stood on them:
An eyewitness on another sheep farm in Australia documented mulesing, a gruesome mutilation that continues to be widely performed on lambs in that country despite industry “promises” to phase it out. A supervisor and a worker mulesed up to 80 lambs and sheep each day—using shears to cut chunks of flesh off their backsides as they writhed in agony. The eyewitness did not see any painkillers administered to the sheep.
It’s estimated that at least 30 percent of the wool produced in Chile is sent to Italy, where companies such as J.Crew and Coach label and sell it as “luxury Italian wool,” misleading consumers about its true origin and the cruelty involved in its production. This PETA video exposé of two massive sheep farms in Chile reveals that barbaric shearing practices are as common there as they are in Argentina, Australia, and the U.S.:
In April 2017, PETA observers visited a massive operation near Jericho, Utah, where thousands of sheep from Red Pine Land & Livestock, LLC—which was once listed on Patagonia’s website as an approved supplier—were sheared each year. Heavily pregnant sheep were handled roughly and treated callously: Their necks were twisted, and they were pulled by the fleece, sent stumbling down steep ramps, and even whipped.
Disturbing video from a PETA Asia investigation of the wool industry in the U.K. shows workers beating, stomping on, kicking, mutilating, and throwing sheep. The eyewitness saw cruelty on 25 farms. Sheep panicked as they were pinned down, and shearers stomped and stood on their heads and necks, squeezed their throats, and kicked them. Workers twisted their necks and limbs, slammed their heads and bodies into the hard wooden floors, and even violently punched these gentle animals in the face and beat and jabbed them in the head with clippers.
A separate PETA Asia investigation revealed that workers in Scotland violently punched sheep in the face, slammed their heads into the floors, beat and kicked them, and threw them off the shearing trailers. Some sheep went limp during shearing. On one farm, a farmer dragged a sheep, who appeared to be dying, by the leg, allowing her head to bounce along the hard rocky soil for several yards. A shearer dangled a dying sheep off a shearing platform and propped her against a railing, where she convulsed and died shortly afterward.
In 2018, an eyewitness worked on a sheep farm in Victoria, Australia—the world’s top wool exporter—and found that the farm manager and workers mutilated terrified lambs in assembly line fashion. Workers cut chunks of flesh off lambs’ hindquarters with shears in a crude attempt to address problems caused by breeding them to produce excessive amounts of wool, leaving sheep with exposed, bloody wounds that often become infected with maggots. When PETA first exposed this gruesome procedure, known as “mulesing,” it prompted international outrage. Mulesing was banned in New Zealand, and Australian wool industry officials promised to phase it out by 2010.
But eight years later, most lambs in Australia are still being subjected to this torment.
Also in 2018, while working for a sheep-shearing contractor in New South Wales, Australia, an eyewitness found that workers struck the gentle, frightened sheep in the face with sharp metal clippers. Paid by volume, the shearers worked at breakneck speed and severely cut the sheep, roughly stitching up their wounds on the filthy shearing floor with no pain relief whatsoever. They even cut off huge swaths of the sheep’s skin. One farmer put a tight ring around a sheep’s scrotum—which is extremely painful—without painkillers so that his testicles would shrivel up and fall off weeks later. When other animals’ testicles didn’t fall off as expected, shearers simply cut them off with their clippers. Again, no pain relief was given at all.
In 2019, PETA eyewitnesses at Bare Ranch in Nevada saw workers shove, hit, pull, and push sheep while loading them into trailers. They struck the animals on the head and face, jabbed them with a paddle and a pole, kicked at them, and kicked the fencing next to them to frighten them into moving forward.
Sheep tried to jump or climb over each other in fear as they were herded toward the trailers. A few collapsed to their knees. And at least two had bloody wounds on their hindquarters, probably from fast and rough shearing.
Bare Ranch claims to produce “local” wool using “sustainable” methods with “respect” for animals. As you can see from the video below, these marketing buzzwords mean little for the sheep involved:
In late 2017, a PETA Asia investigator went inside 16 Australian shearing sheds in South Australia and Victoria, documenting the same sort of sickening cruelty that PETA has exposed again and again.
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.
Based on this evidence, Victoria officials filed cruelty-to-animals charges and a shearer pleaded guilty. Officials in South Australia have opened a criminal investigation into the cruelty documented there.
Sheep are intelligent and social animals, not objects to be used for fashion. They can recognize dozens of individuals from photographs, and seeing a picture of a friend can even calm them in a stressful situation. They can remember faces for up to two years, using the same neural pathways that humans do. It’s speciesist to believe that they don’t experience the same complex emotions as the cats and dogs with whom we lovingly share our homes.
Below, you can take action to help sheep.
Take Action Now!
No matter where it’s sold, wool is the product of a cruel industry. The best way to help sheep like those seen in PETA’s video exposés is to refuse to buy wool.
It’s easy to check labels when you’re shopping. If they say “Wool,” leave the items on the shelf.
Below, you can urge multiple retailers to do the right thing by pulling all wool items off their shelves. Once you’ve completed the actions below, be sure to share this page with your friends, family members, and social media followers. Let them know that wearing wool—like wearing fur, leather, down, and every other animal-derived material—supports cruelty.