This is a guest post from Charlie Butler Shoes. They make great vegan friendly shoes and have a wealth of knowledge about vegan materials. We are super happy to have their contributions. Make sure you check out their upcoming Kickstarter campaign.
Wool is the material obtained from sheep and certain other animals like goats. Wool is not vegan because the production of the material requires the domestication, breeding and exploitation of animals. As with any industry that uses animals for profit, the well-being of the animal is superseded by the industry’s endless drive for profit.
There are many problems with wool:
Undomesticated sheep only produce sufficient wool for their survival in the climate that they exist in. The wool industry has bred sheep that overproduce wool in the abundance required for the industry. The sheep are then forced into submission and have their wool sheared. The process is frightening to the animal and unkind.
Sheep that grow old and decline in the amount of wool they produce are then funneled into the meat industry and killed. They are held captive and subjected to cruel practices through this process. Once they stop producing enough wool, they are killed despite being able to live to a much older age.
Another common practice in the wool industry is mulesing. This is where farmers remove large chunks of skin and flesh from the animal’s back to prevent flystrike – a potentially lethal parasitic disease. The practice is cruel and painful and often performed without pain killers.
There is nothing humane about wool.
Thankfully there are many alternatives to wool such as cotton, rayon, flannel, polyester fleece, synthetic shearling and Tencel.