Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Naked Truth

This image captured by Jacqui Bateman in 2010 is now been used in reaction to he new PETA campaign.
It was bought to my attention this week that PETA is having another crack at  the wool industry releasing a graphic new poster of a naked model posing with a bloodied lamb in an attempt to highlight the "rampant abuse" which they would have you believe was standard practice in modern shearing sheds.


Having grown up on a sheep and cattle station and spending many of my teenage hours working as a 'rousie' alongside these shearers, I never saw anything closely approaching anything they describe.  With emphasis on fleece quality from textile & spinning markets (like us)  and the demand from farmers to maintain healthy flocks -  shearing gangs operating now are incredibly slick, professional, highly competitive teams who take pride their work, just as much as any other tradesperson.
Shearers are not only professionals, they're athletes and take their work very seriously.

Shearing is an important part of the care and welfare of farming sheep.  Its important to help prevent insect infestation, keeping the animal cool in the hot summer months and keeping the weight of the fleece at a safe level in the winter months. Unshorn sheep can be come very laboured under the wool and water weight of a fleece that has not been removed annually.

Whilst it makes great headlines when you find sheep such as Shrek, the reality is he's much happier and healthier freshly shorn, than not
The SPCA in 2014 received 642 sheep related complaints - none of which were shearing related, in fact SPCA Regional Manager Sue Baudet said many of these complaints were because these sheep hadn't been shorn and were suffering in the heat

The most recent PETA poster - so inaccurate on so many levels I don't where to start.
I just get really sick of sensationalism for sensationalism sake.  I am proud of the New Zealand wool industry and the level of genuine care, concern and passion that people working within the industry:  farmers, shearers, brokers or manufacturers, have towards what we do.  I guess the only message I can take from PETA's poor attempt at highlighting their misguided beliefs is that they would prefer petroleum based synthetic fibres because all that's hurting in it's process is the planet, and the planet doesn't have feelings right?


  1. Gah. I've never seen a sheep look like this after shearing. We had a 'hobby' farm when I was growing up, had about 15 sheep and not one of them looked like this after shearing, the worst was a little cut (smaller than a bandaid). What a load of crap. I mean, I would normally like PETA but they are just full of sh*t and don't do their homework.

    1. We used to shear thousands of sheep a day during Spring shearing and on the rare occurrence that an animal was injured, they were treated immediately by the teams working the pens. I saw more shearers and rousies hurt, not sheep!