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7 May 2000 Issue
Wool Facts

Domestic sheep have lost their natural resistance to fly-strike -- an agonizing disease in which maggots burrow and eat their way into the animal's flesh. To prevent the disease, many lambs have their tails docked, often by cutting without anesthetic. In Australia they prevent the disease by performing an operation called 'mulesing' in which folds of skin around the sheep's anus are sheared off, again without anesthetic. They do this to 80% of their sheep (30% of the world's wool comes from Australia).

Of UK wool, 27% is 'skin wool' (pulled from the skins of slaughtered sheep and lambs).

Wool represents only 3-10% of a sheep farmer's profit, the rest being made mostly through the sale of lambs for slaughter. Altogether 20 million sheep and lambs are slaughtered in this England every year.

Millions of lambs and sheep die every year worldwide from exposure to cold after shearing. One million die in Australia alone.

There are plenty of substitutes for wool, from good old cotton in its infinite forms to the modern and actually far more efficient synthetic "fleece" products.

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