Tigerlilly Quinn: Ethical Fashion - Australian Wool

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Ethical Fashion - Australian Wool

So I don't usually get very opinionated on my blog. I do of course have strong opinions on various topics, politics..music..cyclists who ride on the pavement...ok so I have got opinionated about that one! (and on that note I was pushed into the road again last night by a pavement riding cyclist, grr *shakes fist*).


But there is one subject I feel very very strongly about and that is animal rights.
As you may or may not know I don't eat meat, its lifestyle choice I have chosen for moral reasons and I pretty much will leave it at that. It is of no concern to me if other people eat meat or not, I'm certainly not going to get into the reasons I don't eat meat or try and convince anyone else not to. I'm sure you are all intelligent enough to do your own research and make your own decisions on what you do in your life :)


What I would like to talk about here though is ethical fashion . In particular the choices we can make to try and ensure that we are not contributing to animal cruelty.
Most of us I'm sure know that the buying or wearing of fur is wrong and unnecessary so I wont even get into that one. If you are unaware of the torture that goes into the fur industry then please take a look at this video - although I defy anyone to watch that and not cry :(
Some things you may not be aware of however (I certainly wasn't) are some of the other horrible practises on animals for the sake of fashion. I would like to state here that I am a vegetarian and not a vegan, I wear wool and leather and drink milk and eat eggs. However wearing wool is not as straight forward as you might think. I have to admit I thought it was pretty much 'the sheep get hot in the summer and they shear off their wool and its win win for both parties'. Not the case.

What I would like to highlight specifically in this post is the Australian wool industry and their practise of mulesing.
Mulesing - 'is a cruel mutilation. A process in which farmers carve off chunks of skin from lambs' backsides—often without giving the animals any anesthetic—in a misguided attempt to prevent flystrike, a condition in which maggots attack the sheep' - PETA
Basically the type of sheep breed in these areas of Australia are bred so that they produce a huge huge amount of wool (they look like huge cotton buds with tiny faces) which leads their skin to rot and attract maggot's to eat away at the infected and moldy skin, slowly eating the sheep alive. Farmers then use the practise of mulesing so that scar tissue if formed on these wounds that the flys can not get at it. This is not always effective though and even if it is..its chopping off chunks of flesh.. on live sheep guys!
There are humane alternatives to mulesing which many farmers use but it is not a quick option, it basically involves breeding the sheep with less wrinkly skin to produce sheep that would be more resistant to the flystrikes, this would take just two years.

Many companies such as  Hugo Boss, Perry Ellis, H&M, Express, The Gap, Inc., The Timberland Company, Patagonia, Liz Claiborne,and lots more have refused to buy Australian wool or from farms that use the mulesing practise.
It is so important to find out which companies are trying to buy ethically. I know its not always easy, I know that shopping in Howies or buying Stella McCartney is definitely not always an option. Hell I have loads of things from Primark in my wardrobe..I am FAR from perfect, but sometimes it takes a video
like this to wake up you to some of the terrible things that go into making the clothes we wear..

You may think that sheep may not be able to feel the same kind of fear or pain as humans, but believe me when they have chunks of flesh cut from them with no anesthetic they would feel it the same as you or I (umm they have a central nervous system). Also both Gresham Collage in London and the University of Bristol have released recent studies finding that sheep visibly express emotions and experience stress or isolation. They feel fear when they are separated from their social group or approached by strangers, and their heart rate increases by 20 beats per minute when unable to see members of their flock and 84 beats per minute when approached by a man or dog.

When these sheep begin to produce less wool, millions each year are loaded onto extremely crowded, multi tiered cargo ships and sent of terrifying journeys to the middle east or north Africa where animal welfare standards are much lower. The ones that survive this horrible journey then have their throats cut whilst still conscious and often left to bleed to death.

If you would like to find out more, please visit the
PETA website.


Thanks for reading xoxo
p.s no images for obvious reasons!

4 comments:

Handmade by Emily said...

I'd never heard of this problem with Australian sheep farming and, perhaps naively, am quite shocked. I agree that it's important to find out about ethical shopping but sometimes it's so difficult, especially if you're on a limited budget.

Emily x

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

I agree, it is hard to find low cost alternative methods. The same problem that lots of people have with organic food. Its not always so assessable or affordable. I just hope more high street brands become more aware so that we can shop more affordably and consciously! xo

Lil said...

urgh, I didnt know that, I try and buy British Wool at all times. Somone was telling me last week about leather production and manufacture. awful awful stories, even though I eat some meat ( and Im veeeery fussy about where it comes from ) Im going to look at the leather I buy more carefully in future.

Tigerlilly Quinn said...

@lil I know I didnt either and I think its really ace you are so conscious of where your meat comes from. So many people have no idea about what goes into the meat industry, especially factory farming! xx

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