PETA’s 14th Wool Industry Exposé Proves Nothing Has Changed—Terrified Sheep Kicked, Beaten, and Cut

PETA and our international affiliates have exposed horrific cruelty at 116 farms in six countries on four continents, but the wool industry has not changed. Now, PETA’s latest investigation of an Australian shearing crew reveals more of the same: that sheep are still being violently kicked, beaten, and left with gaping, bloody wounds after rushed, rough shearing.

Urban Outfitters Inc. brands Anthropologie, Free People, and Urban Outfitters all sell wool from Australia, and they must be held accountable for their role in supporting the cruel wool industry.

How many times must PETA send investigators to Australia to uncover extreme abuse before Urban Outfitters and consumers realize that that wool is not “just a haircut”? This is how wool clothing is made, and if you sell it or wear it, this is what you’re supporting.

Panicked Sheep Punched and Pinned to the Floor

In PETA’s latest investigation, an investigator documented conditions in Victoria, Australia—once again revealing that cruel practices are common in the wool industry. Shearers kicked sheep in the abdomen and back, punched them in the face, and even stood on one sheep’s neck as she flailed in fear. Workers talked about other shearers who had broken a lamb’s leg, cut up sheep, and gouged them in the eyes. A shearer still employed by the crew allegedly bit a sheep’s ear off in anger.

Pregnant, Suffering From a Vaginal Prolapse, but Still Cut Up

In shearing sheds, workers race against the clock because they’re paid by volume, not by the hour. Rushed, aggressive shearing leaves many sheep cut up and bleeding. The investigator saw shearers cut off long strips of skin. One sheep was given no painkillers when a shearer attempted to stitch up her gaping wound with a needle that appeared to be blunt.

Another sheep was probably in labor when a shearer cut her on her vaginal prolapsewhich was the size of a melon—with his sharp metal clippers. When he was done with her, he used her own wool to wipe her blood up off the floor. The worker said that the “strain” of being shorn contributed to the prolapse. The investigator took the sheep to a veterinarian, who determined that she was struggling to deliver a stillborn lamb and that her uterus was severely torn. She was euthanized to end her suffering.

Cutting Flesh off Lambs’ Hindquarters as They Writhe and Cry Out in Agony

The sheep the investigator documented were subjected to “mulesing,” a crude procedure in which workers cut chunks of flesh off their hindquarters with shears—and typically without pain relief—to address problems caused by breeding them to produce an excessive amount of wool.

When PETA first exposed this gruesome procedure, it prompted international outrage. Mulesing was banned in New Zealand, and Australian wool industry officials promised to phase it out by 2010, but more than a decade later they continue to bicker internally and most lambs in Australia are still being subjected to this horrific mutilation.

Please Help Stop This!

Are you still wearing their wool? If you are, please stop. Sheep are gentle animals who can remember about 50 faces for more than two years, and they don’t deserve to be hurt and exploited for our clothing. Now is the time to rid your closet and home of wool. We can help end their suffering by refusing to buy anything made of wool and opting only for animal-free alternatives, such as acrylic, bamboo, cotton, hemp, modal, polyester, rayon, TENCEL®, and viscose.

Please also take a moment to call on Urban Outfitters to ditch wool and all animal-derived materials. Investigation after investigation has proved that violence against sheep in the wool industry is pervasive, and we must hold the company accountable for supporting such cruelty.