November 7, 2017 Common Misconceptions About Wool, Myth #4: “Sheep Are Harmed During Shearing” Wool is a textile fiber that comes from many different animals, but generally refers to the hair from sheep. Did you ever think about how that hair comes off the sheep? Does it fall off and get collected? Is it brushed off with a special comb? As you may know already, it’s actually shorn or sheared off the live animal using special shears. A quick search for “sheared sheep” will result in many serene, pictures of the quiet, pastoral life of farmers and their sheep, dotted with the occasional horrifying image. Animals can, in fact, be injured during the process if not sheared properly or without care for the animal’s well-being. Even before the sheep are sheared, there are two practices used by the industry that may cause injury to the sheep. “Mulesing” is when shearers remove the skin near the buttocks of the animal to prevent a disease called fly-strike so fecal matter cannot get stuck on the wool and thus attract flies and their maggots. Some farmers will even dip their sheep in toxic insecticide and fungicide chemicals to prevent infestations and disease. At Shepherd’s Dream, we only source our wool from local small family farms who treat their animals humanely and never perform mulesing or chemical-dip their animals. They expertly shear their sheep by hand without harming them in any way. In fact, sheep need to be regularly sheared for them to stay clean and healthy, so collecting the wool is a byproduct of this process. To further ensure that the wool we source comes from responsibly-raised sheep, we’ve set up several of our own standards with our farmers. We also use the OEKO Tex Standard 100, which is a third-party company that tests for chemicals in the wool in the off-chance that any chemicals should wind up in our products. While there are machines that can do the job, we don’t support this practice. Machines are inefficient and cannot ensure the safety of the animals. Sheep shearing is one of the few industries in this day and age where the human element cannot be replaced by a robot. Sheep are beautiful creatures who deserve our protection and love. That’s why we only buy from farmers who have this same attitude towards their animals. When buying Shepherd’s Dream products, you can rest assured knowing that you’re helping to support an industry that provides good jobs for hard-working people and cares for the sheep who supply the wool. Wool is a truly wonderful fiber! Shop online for chemical-free wool bedding, like our all natural mattresses.