Animals Used For Fibers

Where
fibers come from

Many people often overlook the animals used for fibers such as wool, leather, and down. Many fibers in clothing, furniture, and everyday products come from animals. Despite what many may believe, these are not byproducts of slaughtering animals for food, rather, they are from animals raised solely for the purpose of their skin/fur/feathers.

Sheep
Used For Wool

In the wool industry, the welfare of the sheep are not at the top of the priority list, if they are even on it at all. In nature sheep grow just enough wool to keep themselves warm and will shed it come summer. It is not necessary that we sheer them, they take care of it very well on their own. (1) A common practice in the collection of wool is mulesing. The skin on sheep’s hind is removed, without painkillers, to keep flies from laying eggs in their skin. (1) Unfortunately, sheep are not the only animals used for wool. Other animals that suffer from the wool industry are rabbits and goats. (1) This industry has not only shown to be cruel to animals and neglects their feelings but also contributes to climate change. As for most forms of animal agriculture, raising sheep for wool takes a significant amount of our resources; land is cleared and trees cut down, this leads to an increase in soil salinity, erosion, and decreases the biodiversity. (2) Like cows sheep emit large amounts of methane gas, adding to the already overwhelming amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. (2) Raising sheep for wool also adds to water pollution. Fecal matter contaminates the water in the areas where the sheep are raised. (3)

There are many alternatives to wool derived from sheep. Woocoa is a wool like material that is made from coconut and hemp. Another is Nullarbor which is wool made from coconut by products. Other environmentally and animal friendly wools are Tencel, organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, soybean fabric, linen, and recycled fibers. (2) It has been shown to help lower the impact the fashion world has on the planet. (2)

Cows
Used For Leather

Many people never look beyond the clothing racks and shelves that display leather products. More than a billion animals are killed every year for the production of leather. (4) Animals killed for their skin include, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, crocodiles, snakes, sting rays, seals, emus, deer, fish, kangaroos, horses, cats and dogs. (5) The most well known skin used for leather is cow skin. How it is accumulated, is as cruel as medieval torture. (4) Cows are castrated, branded, and their tails are cut off. They do not receive any type of painkillers. Cows are subjected to this starting at a very young age. (4) Unborn calves’s skin is considered a “luxury”. (4) Some are intentionally aborted and others are cut out of the slaughtered mothers. (4) Animals raised for their skin are in large, remote areas and are not monitored. (5) They are suitable to injuries and illnesses and may go unnoticed and suffer for long periods of time in pain. (5) The skin is preserved using toxic chemicals that’s waste is considered hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (4) Workers in international tanneries have documented skin diseases and respiratory illnesses caused by the exposure to the harsh chemicals. (5)

There are many alternatives for leather. Faux leather made from overlapping fabric with plastic. Cork leather is made up of the bark from cork oak trees, it is not only cruelty free but also sustainable because the bark grows back in just a few years. Microfiber is created using industrial scrap like, old TV screens, scrap polyester, and many more similar products. Vegetan is a trade name for a microfiber that resembles leather. Ocean leather is a substitute that looks and feels like real leather. It is made from kelp, an abundant and sustainable resource. Canvas or Textiles Some of these fabrics can be made to resemble leather and even when they don’t look like leather they are still stylish and cruelty free.

Feathered
Friends Used For Down

Down is the soft layer of feathers on a bird that is closest to their skin, Primarily on their chest. It is used for clothing and comforters. (7) Many ducks and geese are kept in crowded cages with little room to even turn around. When it is their turn to be plucked they are lifted by their wings, which are extremely fragile, and their legs are restrained. Like most animals used in these industries when it is time to collect the “product” they are not given any type of painkillers. At times the feathers are ripped out so hard that the skin is torn, workers quickly sew these open wounds with a needle while the birds are still alive. (7) Most of the plucking starts when the animal is as young as 10 weeks old and it is then repeated every six weeks until they die, which is much earlier than when they would naturally die. (7)

Give the gift of a warm winter coat and help reduce cruelty to ducks who are farmed for down. Save the Ducks has a wide variety of coats and jackets for men, women, and kids. Their 100% animal-free coats are warm, lightweight, and fluffy. Birds used in down production have their feathers painfully ripped from their bodies while they are alive. Please support this compassionate company raising awareness about this tragic practice.(8)

There are many alternatives to wool derived from sheep. Woocoa is a wool like material that is made from coconut and hemp. Another is Nullarbor which is wool made from coconut by products. Other environmentally and animal friendly wools are Tencel, organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, soybean fabric, linen, and recycled fibers. (2) It has been shown to help lower the impact the fashion world has on the planet. (2)

Sources

  1. https://sentientmedia.org/how-many-animals-are-killed-for-food-every-day/
  2. https://www.sentienceinstitute.org/us-factory-farming-estimates

Interested in learning more?

Learn about how animals are treated in animal agriculture.

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