Before I discuss why wool is not vegan, let us together take a close look at what wool really is. Thus, wool is a type of textile fiber that is derived from the “coats” of various animals. While the most common and least expensive wool comes from sheep, the more costly wools come from different animals such as cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, angora from rabbits and several other types of wool from camels. I deliberately referred to the sources of wool as being derived from the “coats” of animals rather than from their hair or furs because of its characteristics that differ considerably from hair and fur — elasticity and crimpness. And unlike hair and fur, wool coats grow in dense clusters over the outer bodies of the animals in question.

Shearing

I will not, at this time, describe how the coats of the above mentioned animals are turned into actual textiles that we all know as the wool that’s used for manufacturing clothing, blankets, upholstery, carpets, drapes and much more. However, I do wish to discuss how it is harvested off animal backs, because that is the key factor used in determining that wool is indeed not cruelty-free and it is, therefore, not vegan.

Unlike meat, leather and fur productions, harvesting wool does not directly necessitate killing animals but it is, never the less, far from being compassionate. Here is why I and most of my vegan friends believe that wool is not vegan:

1. Wool belongs to the animals that grow it, not to humans who harvest it. The act of harvesting wool is equivalent to stealing and/or robbing helpless beings of their rightful belongings.

2. Being a rather active part of the thriving animal agriculture, the wool industry commodifies sentient beings and objectifies them as easily subjugated resources for human consumption. That is ethically and morally wrong.

3. The wool industry holds wool animals in inappropriately tight cages that are far from sanitary or health oriented. That is inhumane captivity of innocent beings.

4. Shearing the wool off the animals is performed with careless brutality which often leads to painful wounds that can then result in life threatening infections.

5. Shorn animals are deprived of the protective coats that are endowed them by nature. Being left without insulation against harsh elements, the now naked animals die of exposure to excessive heat and/or cold.

6. Just like dairy cows are fed hormones and are forced into unnatural breeding to abnormally increase their production of milk, wool animals are fed with hormones and are bred unnaturally to abnormally increase their production of wool. That is abuse for the sake of increasing profit margins.

7. Being unnaturally bred, captive wool animals are born with the moist and wrinkled skins that enable increased production of wool. After shearing, however, these wrinkles become exposed and often attract flies that lay their eggs which become maggots that feed on the animals’ exposed skins. This potentially leads to a condition known as flystrike. To rid the animals of this extremely painful condition, the wool industry cuts off the affected skin and the flesh beneath it (usually without anesthesia) in a procedure known as mulesing.

8. Dairy cows are used and abused and then shipped off to slaughter houses when their bodies are no longer able to produce enough milk. In much the same way, wool animals are used and abused until their bodies give up and then they are shipped off to slaughter houses of the meat industry. That is murder.

So, why is wool not vegan? Wool is not vegan because it is produced by an industry that commodifies, objectifies, uses and abuses animals to satisfy its insatiable greed for money. And when exhausted animals can no longer satisfy their gluttonous captors, they are turned into meat!

Wool is not vegan because it is cruel, inhumane, unethical and murderous!

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