Becoming vegan has been like gradually cleaning a window and seeing little by little into the world of animal ethics, where before the panes were murky from ignorance, guilt and an unwillingness to investigate for fear of more guilt.
Today, materials such as leather and suede have probably been harvested unethically – usually the animal is kept in ghastly conditions and killed young for its meat – their skin being a by-product sold to the fashion industry. Of course I knew this before, but its only since ceasing to eat meat that I have started to really hold a mirror up to everything I do and consume. In an ideal world, and probably with an echo of ancient practises, animal materials wouldn’t have to be gathered unethically, but would be harvested once the animal had died naturally. However, in this day and age, such a method is just not possible with the demand for leather and suede etc. being so high.
Yesterday I watched this video made by PETA on the abuse that sheep receive when they are shorn on some ranches in Australia and America.
It made my stomach heave and my eyes water. I cannot believe that this is happening in multiple sites across the world.
Although I’m sure that not all shearers treat their sheep this way, after seeing this video, to be on the safe side, I will simply not be buying any woollen garments from now on. This will not be hard, as thinking about my wardrobe, I am sure there aren’t many woollen items anyway – I find it very itchy!
Another wool that I have known to be unethical for about a year, is Angora. I discovered this after a news story ran on BBC’s Radio One about the horrific treatment of rabbits when harvesting their fur. Because it was a radio story there weren’t any images, but the sound of the rabbits screaming in the background was enough to put me off for life. If you want to find out more, watch this PETA video. It was kind of ironic when my uncle bought me a ‘cosy’ Angora wool hot water bottle cover with a cute cartoon rabbit pattern on it, only a few weeks after I heard the radio programme. To me it was like some sort of sick joke – happy rabbits woven from the fur of their own kind – begotten in pain and suffering. I do not blame him, he was not to know, in fact most people are ignorant to wool gathering practises and we need to educate them now!
Please share this post or be inspired to write your own or tell your friends and family to stop buying wool of any kind. Whatever you do, please take action now, no matter how small.