Tag Archives: wool-free coats and sweaters

We crucified the Lamb of God — Why do we still slaughter sheep?

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By Dan Paden

As I read Exodus and Leviticus this Lent, the ritual sacrifices of lambs, oxen and other animals strike me. Imagining how the offerings of these slaughtered animals looked, sounded and smelled fuels powerful meditations on the death of Jesus, the “Lamb of God.” It also makes me wonder: Why do the faithful still have countless lambs and sheep — among other species — killed so violently for us?

Christ’s death, after all, made animal sacrifices obsolete. According to Saint Paul, because of Jesus’ sacrifice, no one else — including lambs and other sheep — need die for our sins. But need they die for us at all? God put animals’ fate into our hands only after He lamented our ancestors’ wickedness and flooded the Earth. This likely left Noah’s family with little to eat and wear but animals. That’s a bleak position to be in: Kill, eat and cover oneself with God’s creations — or perish.

I don’t face such desperation. Very few readers do. We don’t need to eat lamb — hundreds of healthy, happy Trappist monks and nuns across the U.S. can attest to that — or wear wool.

And yet, in a nation where more than 70 percent of the population self-identifies as Christian, around 37,000 lambs and older sheep are slaughtered every week at federally inspected plants. Nearly 190,000 lambs and sheep were killed on U.S. farms from 2014 to 2015.

In Colorado, my friend documented a shearer who twisted one such victim’s neck, breaking it, and then kicked her headfirst down a chute, where she died.

That horrible treatment cannot be considered an isolated incident. In 2014, another colleague of mine documented that workers in Argentina cut the throats of conscious lambs and started to skin some of them while they were still kicking. Months earlier, PETA had revealed that in Australia, workers beat sheep while shearing them.

All that pain and agony was inflicted on God’s creations here and elsewhere simply so that someone could buy a lamb chop or a pair of socks made of wool. The U.S. produced more than 25 million pounds of wool — and imported millions of pounds more — in 2015.

So we must ask ourselves: Are the sheep and lambs who are slaughtered today dying because of our sins?

Sin “is an offense against … right conscience … caused by a perverse attachment to certain goods” (Catechism of the Catholic Church). If we wouldn’t slit a conscious lamb’s throat or break a sheep’s neck ourselves, can our conscience rightly accept having others do so on our behalf?

Isn’t it only our stubborn attachment to mere taste preferences — whether for a particular dish or a certain sweater—that keeps us buying lambs’ flesh or wool in the face of such endemic cruelty?

I confess that I once cherished the wool sweaters that my grandparents gave me each Christmas. But when I learned of the agony woven in with that yarn and the blood washed out of it, I could no longer in good conscience wear them or any wool. To do so would be to support all the terror and suffering that exist in the interconnected wool and sheep-flesh industries.

This Lent, as we strive especially hard to turn away from sin, may we also take up Christ’s instruction to “proclaim the gospel to every creature.” We can start to bring His good news to all creation by leaving lambs and sheep off our plates and their skin and fleece off our backs.

For the faithful — and indeed, for all kind people — our choice is simple but stark: We can work toward God’s peaceable kingdom to come, in which no animal will be harmed or destroyed — or pay others to harm and stab these docile, fellow living beings on our behalf.

Which will you choose?

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Why I’ll have a wool-free winter

By Jennifer Bates
 
‘Tis the season for cozy fires, warm cocoa and playing in the snow. One thing that’s never in season, though, is wool.
 
I used to love wool—I mean, really love it. As soon as the temperature dipped, out came my wool skirts and scarves, mittens and sweaters. It made my eyes water and my skin itch, but I still bundled up in the stuff every winter and lamented packing it away again in the spring. On a trip to Tibet years ago, I even searched for hours for a wool cap, the only souvenir I really wanted. But these days, wool is no longer welcome in my closet. Why? Because I now see wool for what it actually is: environmentally destructive and heartbreakingly cruel.
 
Sheep require lots of land for grazing, and our voracious demand for wool requires lots and lots of sheep—so many, in fact, that they have outstripped the Earth’s ability to sustain them. In Patagonia, Argentina—once second only to Australia in wool production—too many sheep on the land led to soil deterioration, desertification and, eventually, irrevocable damage to the area. In a region of South Africa, sheep and other farmed animals created badlands when they ate their way through all the vegetation. And of course, cutting down trees to make room for grazing leads to decreased biodiversity. Any way you look at it, wool production is stripping parts of the planet bare.  
 
And the sheep fare even worse than the environment. Since shearers are paid by volume, it’s in their financial interests to work as quickly as possible, with no consideration for the sheep’s welfare. On three continents, PETA has exposed shearers who punched and stomped on sheep, throwing them against the hard wooden floor and gouging them with clippers as they raced to shear as many sheep as possible. Often, workers starve sheep and deprive them of water for 24 hours before shearing begins because weak animals are easier to control. Some sheep die from all this abuse.
 
And “responsibly sourced” wool is just as bad. A recent PETA video exposé of some of these sheep farms in Argentina showed hideous mutilations without any pain relief. One worker hacked off lambs’ tails, leaving bloody stumps as the babies bleated in pain. Another cut notches out of the lambs’ sensitive ears using a tool resembling pliers and neutered a male lamb by putting a tight ring around his scrotum so that his testicles would shrivel up and fall off. Even as a woman, the thought makes me cross my legs and grimace at the agony they endure.
 
That Tibetan cap turned out to be the last wool purchase I ever made. After learning about all the cruelty and environmental destruction caused by wool production, I said goodbye to wool clothing forever. And in so doing, I learned something else: It is so easy not to wear wool. The variety of sustainable, plant-based materials available is astounding, and they can be found everywhere, from national chains to Fifth Avenue boutiques. Clothing and accessories made out of these vegan fabrics are comfortable, warm and stylish. And, since compassion looks good on everyone, they also make the perfect holiday gift.
 
Let’s make this a joyous season for all beings. Choose cruelty-free clothing and accessories, and leave wool where it belongs — on animals.

“Taking animals out of the fashion equation”

From PETA.ORG:

Written by Christina Sewell

Vegan wool means high-tech, eco-friendly, cruelty-free construction – a model set to take over the fashion industry.

Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart of VAUTE took the time to introduce us to her chic wool-free coats and chunky knit sweaters, which encourage positive change by taking animals out of the fashion equation.

To create VAUTE’s version of vegan wool, Hilgart turned to U.S.-based high-tech mills at the cutting edge of sustainability, using eco-conscious fabrics made from a blend of organics and recycled fibers.

The combination makes for a super-warm, water-resistant, and windproof garment that gives back to the planet and spares sheep from painful mutilations on farms.

These are coats and sweaters that people who may not yet know about how cruelly animals are treated will adore, because they’re created with the warmth and protection of a coat from Patagonia but with the look and feel of a trendy, sleek dress coat.

With this fashion-forward clothing, VAUTE proves that rules were made to be broken and that what we choose to wear is extremely impactful. Everyone can make positive changes with simple everyday choices.

Animals shouldn’t be exploited and abused, and it’s time to make sure that there’s no need for them to be by creating animal-free apparel that looks, performs, and feels better.

Check out VAUTE’s coat collection!