I must admit, I tend to enjoy stirring the pot from time to time.
Yes, I must confess that I do like to cause a little drama; but, in my own defense, the pots I like to stir are those being brewed by others.
I have a habit of cruising the Internet for anti-agriculture blogs and social media to see what the latest accusations against farmers are. I think I have been blocked from commenting on four or five pages now because the spoon I used to stir the pot was truth and a little education. My husband says I need to get a new hobby, but I’m having too much fun.
One of my recent crusades led me to the website of the animal rights group PETA. According to its website, PETA recently sent American Airlines a letter urging the airline to replace all uniforms with “vegan wool” versions because its new wool uniforms are making some employees ill. The letter says “countless people” have told the organization that wool makes them sick and claims wool carries “a lot of environmental baggage.” Nothing is presented to back the statements, nor does it consider the manufacturing process of the uniforms may be the reason for the rash of illness complaints; it’s all the sheep’s fault.
The remainder of the page-long letter goes on to tell of the cruelly PETA has found in the sheep industry, specifically when shearing, during a two-year investigation. PETA encourages the readers of the letter review its video depicting shearers injuring animals, even breaking the neck of one ewe.
I watched the video and there were some rough scenes, but it is not the norm for the industry. The organization’s videos are typically far from the norm, but those are the ones that keep getting shared around the world. While I have never owned sheep, I have been around sheep and none of those actions would be tolerated in my barn, and the culprits would be sent packing pretty dang quick.
I guess we are supposed to stop shearing sheep so the animals can go wool blind (wool covers the sheep’s eyes) and allow their unshorn fleeces to lead to heat stress, mobility issues or even death.
Some anti-animal agriculture groups and organizations claim sheep do not need to be sheared because they will naturally shed their wool. They obviously haven’t been around many sheep.
About a year ago, a ewe in Tasmania named Sheila was found on the side of a dirt road, unable to get up because of the nearly 50 pounds of wool she carried. Her finders thought she was dead. It had been about six years since she had been shorn. Sheila isn’t the only case of a wayward sheep.
In 2014, Shaun, which was also located in Tasmania, was sheared for the first time in his life, producing a more than 50-pound fleece. Then there was the New Zealand Merino wether named Shrek. Shrek was located in 2004 after evading his farmer for six years. When he was finally caught, Shrek’s fleece was about 60 pounds.
Perhaps the “granddaddy” of all escape-artist sheep is one known as Chris, who was found in Australia in 2015. His massive fleece tipped the scales at 88 pounds. It was estimated that it had been more than five years since the sheep was sheared. He was barely able to walk when found and weighed about 97 pounds after he was sheared.
Opponents of the sheep industry want shearing to stop and they want all sheep to live long, happy lives frolicking around in pastures and meadows. While it paints a pretty picture, it’s kind of hard to frolic anywhere if you are wearing a coat year round that weighs nearly as much as you do, a coat that just keeps getting heavier and heavier and heavier with each passing week, month and year.
Leaving sheep to wander around because it is more “humane” is a farce. The real cruelty is leaving sheep, or any animal, to its own demise.
So PETA, isn’t your plan kind of like the pot calling the kettle black?