Recent investigations have revealed a ‘growing’ animal industry that the vast majority of Australians would be unaware of.
‘Ultra-fine’ wool growers supply an elite international market and wealthy buyers from the world’s foremost fashion houses.
Ultra-fine wool growing is an intensive animal industry. Specially-bred sheep are kept indoors in individual small pens 24 hours a day for four or five years. Nylon coats are worn by the ‘shedded’ sheep to further ensure that dust and dirt does not enter their fleece — and, like every other intensive animal industry, the behavioural and social needs of the sheep, intrinsic factors which provide quality of life, are completely ignored.
The impacts of chronic stress caused by an inappropriate environment are obvious. The confined sheep continually chew on the wooden slats and strands of wire which enclose them. Repetitive body movements were also observed – classic stereotypic behaviours caused by a barren environment (which leads to chronic boredom), combined with the inability to exercise, or to perform simple natural behaviours such as the ability to graze on grass.