That PETA campaign up there? It’s absolute bogus. The photo shopping and/or abuse that went into creating that image quite honestly blows me away. However, I’m not a sheep expert – so I called one in. Below is a piece written by Courtney Cowden, an individual who has a valid opinion and expertise. Why? Because she lives and breathes this stuff. Who better to talk about the truth of sheep than someone who has been raising them her entire life? Yea I couldn’t think of anyone else either.
Here’s the truth – enjoy!
The basic timeline of events that prompted this post went something like this…
- Scrolling through my Facebook news feed I see a graphic picture of a bearded guy holding an odd shaped white object.
- I keep scrolling, ignoring the first photo and see the same graphic picture and the same bearded guy.
- I realize, the common ground between the two separate posts are my “ag” friends so I click on the link, read the article and all the while am still trying to figure out how PETA thought their photoshop tactics would think that white blob looks like a sheep.
I follow the old mantra “only believe half of what you hear and part of what you see”. In other words, I don’t read something and take it as fact. I wish more people followed that same logic, but they don’t. So, here I am writing a blog article because my college dearest buddy The Cow Chronicler said “hey you should write an article because you know more about sheep than I do, which makes you a better resource of the truth.” I do know about sheep. I actually know more about sheep than even I admit sometimes because really, a lot of people find sheep annoying (they kinda sorta totally loud… it’s baaaaaaad). I’ve lived on a sheep farm for 25 years. Yep, that’s every year of life for this chick.
Sheep are pretty cool. They are incredibly versatile because unlike other livestock species they are considered dual purpose. That means, some sheep are for wool some are for meat and some are really good at both. Since PETA wanted consumers to think that sheep are harmed when they are shorn, I’m going to focus on the sheep raised for wool.
Sheep grow a thick coat overtime that is similar to hair or fur on a dog or cat. Their wool needs shorn yearly for the comfort of the animal and for cleanliness. I bet you are thinking “oh that makes sense, kinda like how I take my dog to the groomers”. Yep, kinda like that. What makes it so cool is it’s a win/win situation. The sheep need shorn, their wool can be used for other purposes- perfect! Now, let’s focus on the actual shearing process.
Large sheep production farms, like the ones described in the PETA article do in fact shear their sheep yearly. And yes, the sheep shearers are working quickly and efficiently. I won’t dispute that. I’m here to say that in my entire 25 years of being around the sheep shearing process I have NEVER seen and open flesh wound or blood or whatever that photoshop nonsense was on the PETA picture. Even in the worst case scenario, if a sheep is nicked in the process of shearing it is immediately treated with a type of “neosporin for animals” to prevent infection or fly strike. Like you’ve read in articles before, these animals are the farmer’s lively hoods. Their health and wellbeing is critical.
The photo shared from PETA was grotesque. I was appalled. And after I realized the fabrication of the story behind it I was angry. I urge you to fact find and to ask the producers. Or, if you are really not into traipsing around the sheep farm, check out this YouTube video. Thanks for reading friends!