Federated Farmers is mystified and frustrated at the latest PETA attack on the wool industry.
The animal rights organisation is using Hollywood celebrities to promote its anti- wool agenda adding further stress to an industry experiencing challenging times.
“This is quite frankly ridiculous and another predictable example of what PETA resort to when they seek attention on a global scale,” says Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chair Miles Anderson.
“The implication that shearing sheep is cruel or mistreatment is mystifying to most kiwis let alone farmers. Sheep naturally grow wool and if we didn’t shear them there would be great animal welfare issues, such as fly strike or discomfort having to carry a 5kg plus fleece around in the heat of summer.
“Shearing is like getting a haircut, simple as that.”
Many moon ago sheep might not have needed to be shorn.
But modern flocks have been bred to produce wool and leaving them unshorn would be cruel.
That’s why farmers continue to shear their sheep even though the current price for strong wool isn’t covering the cost of shearing.
New Zealand farmers take the welfare of their sheep very seriously and have high standards that they and all those involved with animals including shearers, maintain as a point of pride.
The industry was working together to ensure all involved are well trained to maintain these standards.
“Our wool industry is globally renowned for quality and ethics, unlike PETA which has a particular worldview that they want everyone to conform to and, it’s obvious they don’t care how they go about achieving that,” says Miles.
It was a mystery why wool was being targeted by organisations claiming to appeal to the values of present day society.
“Wool is a truly sustainable and environmentally safe product. It has numerous attributes: being biodegradable, fire resistant and renewable. It’s also naturally insulating and therefore an energy saver, saving on household costs.
A common alternative to wearing wool is synthetics such as polyester and polar fleece, which leave behind microfibres when washed contaminating the environment.
“We have seen a rejection of products containing micro beads in personal care products, if the same scrutiny is applied to clothing, wool presents a fantastic natural, sustainable alternative,” says Miles.
Another benefit of wool is that it takes a lot less energy to produce a kilo of wool than any of the synthetic alternatives.