Ethical Fibre in the Uk

Ethical Fibre in the Uk

When starting on our fibre adventure in Devon, the most important aspect of our work was that the production of our fibre and art work did not derive from the exploitation of the animals who were supplying us with fleece.
Over the last few years I have seen many disturbing images, videos and articles exposing the sometimes horrific practises that go on behind the scenes to provide us with a competitively priced wool.
We know in the UK that the vast majority of wool from sheep is a by product of the ‘sheep for meat’ industry and that a farmer is lucky if he or she covers the cost of shearing his sheep by selling the fleece.
This already sits uncomfortably with us (being vegetarian) but at the moment the best we can do is visit the farms that we buy our fleece from so we can be sure that the animals are treated with care and respect whilst they are alive.
I do wonder if artists think when they are using their fleece about where it comes from and if they new that the animals that supplied it could have been kept on their own, away from other sheep to protect the fibre or kept inside to protect its fibre or had the skin cut from around its back end to minimise the cost and effort to the farmer in protecting the sheep from flystrike (Merino Fleece), Would the artists feel this had an effect on the beautiful fibre art they are producing, do we need to be shouting “Art without Cruelty”.
Unfortunately when artists are buying wool tops for felting or spinning we don’t often think “where has this fibre come from?” “Was the animal that supplied it killed at 6 months for its meat?” 6 months old!!!
We hope we are working towards a time when sheep are kept for their fleece and can live a long and happy life rather than a very, very, very short one.
Value your fibre and Know where it comes from.



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