The claims have angered sheep farmers who work tirelessly in challenging economic times to provide the wool that is the envy of the world.
The inflammatory statement came from Elisa Allen, PETA associate director.
She said: “When every single PETA exposé of the wool industry has revealed petrified sheep with bloody wounds and broken limbs, there’s simply no excuse to wear wool – especially when there are so many innovative vegan fabrics to choose from.”
“PETA’s international affiliates have released five exposés, recorded at 37 facilities on three continents, which reveal that sheep are mutilated, abused, and skinned alive – even for so-called “responsibly sourced” wool on so-called “sustainable” farms.
Mike Thomas, from the National Farmers Union, said:
This never happens. Sheep are clipped using a hand piece to remove the wool. There are clear guidance notes on best practice to ensure nothing of such a nature would ever happen. The health and welfare of a farmers stock is of paramount importance to the farmer.
“Above all it would be completely illogical and inhumane to ever consider pulling the skin of a live animal. This perception is a million miles from the truth.
Phil Stocker, Chief Executive of the National Sheep Association also immediately hit back at the claim.
He said: “Sheep are not skinned alive in the UK. Sheering is performed once a year by the trained staff.
“Sheering is important for sheep as it keeps them cool and stops parasites from developing in the wool.
“Sheep don’t feel any pain throughout the process, while wool is one of the most sustainable materials. Its high in carbon, grows annually and has a naturally occurring fibre in it.
Shearing should only be performed by experienced, competent farmers who received adequate training in shearing techniques, according to the UK government Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock.
The code also states extra care should be taken not to cut the skin of the sheep, which completely contradicts the PETA UK statement.
Sheep have been resident of the UK since Roman times, and became hugely important when wool, meat, milk and skins formed the basis of Medieval trade. With more than 90 different breeds and crosses across the country, the sheep sector employs 34,000 people on farms and a further 111,405 jobs in allied industries. This contributes a huge £291.4m to the UK economy.
It’s not the first time PETA has issued false allegations against the fur, leather, wool and meat industries.
Other PETA campaigns that have caused public outrage include:
- Earlier this month PETA launched an outrageous campaign comparing livestock to rape victims, sparking a lot of anger among Internet users.
- In 2004, PETA issued their Holocaust on Your Plate campaign, which compared animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms with images of Jews in Nazi concentration camps.
- The organisation outraged the Catholic Church by placing a naked picture of model Joanna Krupa with a crucifix.
- Outraged a dog show in the UK by making a dog look like Hitler.
- Using pornstars for their numerous campaigns.
- Comparing overweight women to whales.
- Linking autism to the milk consumption.