Recently, I have been introduced to an issue in the wool industry called "Museling." When I first read about it, I was pretty shocked. I never gave wearing wool much thought. I read "Farmer Boy" (By Laura Ingalls Wilder) when I was little, and heck, sheering sheep didn't sound like something bad! It sounded kinda fun! Certainly, it didn't seem like anything that would harm the sheep. I never gave it a thought.
Here is Wikapedia's definition of the process:
Mulesing is a skilled surgical task that involves the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech (buttocks) of a sheep to prevent flystrike in regions where it is common.
Hmm, that doesn't sound good. Now, here is a picture:
Umm, that really doesn't look good. At all.
Here are the top 10 wool exporters in the world:
Global woolclip (total amount of wool shorn) 2004/2005
- Australia: 25% of global woolclip (475 million kg greasy, 2004/2005)
- China: 18%
- New Zealand: 11%
- Argentina: 3%
- Turkey: 2%
- Iran: 2%
- United Kingdom: 2%
- India: 2%
- Sudan: 2%
- South Africa: 1%
- United States: 0.77%
If you'd like more information, google it yourself, or start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulesing.
Sometimes, "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." (Toby Keith)