Most Australians are aware that sheep are subjected to the cruelty of live export and mulesing, but few knew that sheep are also the latest victims of factory farming.
Animals Australia provided video footage from one of these ‚Äòultra-fine‚Äô wool sheep factory farms to 6.30 with George Negus (Channel 10). Their expose has now shown the public the miserable conditions these sheep endure:
Animals Australia first exposed the cruel conditions in which these sheep are kept in a 2004 investigation which documented sheep chewing on the wooden slats and strands of wire of their pens due to stress, frustration and boredom. The sheep are also provided with a low feed ration to ensure their wool remains ultra-fine and they will often be hungry.
The new (2011) footage shown on 6.30 with George Negus unfortunately reveals that these welfare problems continue.
Findings from a 2009 scientific study also confirm the ongoing welfare problems. The University of Melbourne study commissioned by the Wool Factory (near Horsham, Victoria) found that the majority of observed sheep displayed behaviours commonly perceived as ‚Äòstereotypies‚Äô, abnormal behaviours such as head butting or nosing and chewing pen fixtures, pacing and pawing ‚Äì indicative of a failure to cope with the conditions.
There are reported to be many thousands of sheep kept in this type of confinement in Australia — most in sheds in Victoria — despite other farmers being able to produce ultra-fine wool without such cruel confinement for their sheep.
Now that these sheep are given a voice on TV and the community is more aware of their plight, there is an opportunity to free ‘ultra-fine wool sheep’ from their tiny pens. Our campaign is already convincing fashion designers to stop using wool from single penned sheep and it is time now to call for the practice to be banned.