While green fashionistas may look at wools as natural, eco-friendly fabrics, there’s a dark side to the wool industry that might change how you feel about knits.
While I was doing research for a vegan crafting mini-series over at Crafting a Green World, I was looking for information on common animal products and found some heart-wrenching information about the wool industry.
We’ve touched on the leather industry’s mistreatment of animals in the past, and you might assume that since we don’t kill sheep for wool that it’s a humane fiber. Unfortunately, in the case of most commercial wool, that’s far from the truth. Elizabeth Gordon at This Dish is Veg goes into great detail about the horrors of wool’s production. Here’s a (caution: very graphic) video depicting the meusling practice that Gordon describes in her article:
Commercial sheep also often live in factory farming conditions, including confinement cages:
Wool’s Cruelty: What You Can Do
Of course, the easiest answer is to just skip the wools all together and opt for organic cotton, hemp, soy silk, bamboo, and other eco-friendly, cruelty-free fibers.
If you’re looking to purchase a wool product, do your research! Where did that fiber come? How were the sheep treated? One really great way to find more humane wool is to buy handmade. Check Etsy for handmade wares made from humane wools. Since you’re buying from an individual, they’re more likely to be transparent about their materials than the big box store. Most Etsy sellers are happy to answer questions, so don’t be shy about sending a convo if you’re curious about their materials. You can also look for organic wools, as these sheep live slightly better lives than commercial sheep.
So, what do you guys think? Are commercial wools worth the cruelty? Where do animal rights fall in your eco-fashion priorities?