New Video Shows Wool Industry Workers Cutting, Punching, Stamping On Sheep

PETA US Releases Footage Shot at Shearing Sheds in Australia in First Undercover Investigation of Its Kind

For Immediate Release:

10 July 2014

Sydney – PETA US’ video exposé of the wool industry in Australia – the source of 90 per cent of merino wool in the world – shows workers violently punching scared sheep in the face, stamping and standing on the animals’ heads and necks and beating and jabbing them in the face with electric clippers and a hammer. Investigators also documented that large, bloody wounds were left on the sheep’s bodies and that workers stitched gaping wounds closed using a needle and thread without administering any pain relief.

PETA US is sending the video to international retailers that sell wool – including J.Crew and the Ralph Lauren Corporation – with a unique appeal that the companies end their sales of wool products. PETA US cites the cruelty of the live-export trade, the severe pain inflicted on animals during mulesing (the flaying of live lambs) and now the abuse of sheep during shearing as three reasons to avoid wool.

The video exposé highlights just some of the cruelty observed at each of the 19 shearing sheds visited by investigators, who documented 70 workers employed by nine shearing contractors who abused sheep in Victoria and New South Wales (Australia’s top wool-producing states) and South Australia. The documented contractors total more than 5 per cent of the contractors listed in a national shearing directory. PETA US has asked law-enforcement agencies to investigate and file criminal charges against the workers, as appropriate, for what it believes to be violations of cruelty-to-animals laws. The contractors’ workers may shear more than 4 million sheep annually.

“Sheep are gentle prey animals who are petrified of even being held down, yet these sheep were punched in the face, kicked and stamped on and had their heads slammed into the floor by unsupervised, impatient shearers, causing them great distress and injury”, says PETA Founder Ingrid E Newkirk. “PETA is calling on shoppers around the world to reject cruelty to animals – and that means never buying wool.”

A PETA US investigator also found similar cruelty – including one case in which a sheep’s neck was twisted until the animal died – at 14 ranches in the US states of Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska.

Photographs from the investigations are available here. Broadcast-quality video footage from the US investigation is available here, and broadcast-quality video footage from the Australian investigations is available here. For more information, please visit