An Update on Moral Questions About Sheep

You can get the PETA point of view on wool at SavetheSheep.com. They are talking about mulesing, a cruel-sounding procedure which seems not to be a big favorite with Aussie sheep ranchers, either, from what I read on the web. The sci-fi sheep turn out to be ordinary Merino sheep. You can read this and decide whether to avoid Australian wool, Merino wool, or wool in general, unless you are like some of us Yarn, Ho!s and know where your wool comes from. The idea of avoiding the use of wool in general is based on the preponderance of Australian sheep — the theory is that even our Peruvian wool could be made from the wool of Australian sheep, for all we know, since 80% of all the world’s wool comes from down under. I did note, in the wool-farmer’s online journal, that they are concerned about the blacklisting of Australian wool, and are working on improving things. Many of the things online on this subject have that hysterical tone that I find conducive to skepticism. We are asked to feel sorry for sheep impregnated against their wills, for example, and “kept alive year after year.” There is no suggestion for what should be done with the sheep if no sheep products are to be used by humans. I continue to believe that domestic animals are dependent on humans for their livelihood, and cannot expect to survive if they are not productive for humans.

Sighkey tells me, and she is from New Zealand and should know, that Australian sheep can live in the wild, and are kept as pets, too. So we should a) buy Australian wool in order to encourage the current efforts of Aussie ranchers to improve the lives of their sheep, or b) buy wool only from sources that we know treat their sheep humanely, in order to encourage Australian sheep to rise up and leave their humans. She also tells me that there is full employment among sheep in New Zealand, so maybe we should buy New Zealand wool. PETA says we should knit with acrylic and hemp, but that seems like an over-reaction. All the local sheep I have met are meek and stupid, and I have seen them sheared, and they obviously are glad to have it done. So I am thinking I will find a local source of wool, and avoid Merino (sob!) until I know more about it. 

On the home front, #2 daughter has pointed out an unforeseen complication. I had told #1 daughter, who is going to visit #2 at school, to go to the music building, where #2 is well-known.”They will help you find her,” I said. #2 pointed out what I had forgotten, which is that the two girls are routinely mistaken for one another. When #1 arrives, #2 says, everyone will think she is the Music Dept. girl and will ask her to do things. Students at Chanthaboune’s school, will you watch for a girl who looks like her but shorter, and help her? Think of her as a meek and defenseless sheep, not a feisty Australian sheep. Thank you.