Shedded Sheep – Australia’s Wool Industry Shame


In the early seventies, certain Australian wool producers developed a cruel and unnatural practice in order to produce clean, ultra fine wool for the overseas elite fashion market.

This practice is the individually penning of sheep.

Most Australians are unaware of this very well hidden practice that the wool industry knows as Shedded or ‘Sharlea Sheep’.  The name Sharlea comes from the property where this method of wool production first originated.

The individual caging of sheep day in day out for up to 5 years denies the animals all of their most basic needs, even their food is monitored.  Shedded sheep are fed only the most basic rations, in fact it is said that shedded sheep live in constant hunger.

Sheep destined to be caged as shedded sheep are bred specially to produce ‘ultra fine wool’. These cross-breed saxon-merino sheep grow ultra-fine fleece which is sought by elite international markets from the world’s foremost fashion houses.

The cruelty behind how this ultra fine wool is produced is disturbing and conveniently ignored, or denied, this is quite obvious when you see that producers are actually proud of how they have created an artificial, cruel existence for sheep, in the quest for the luxury market.

As you can see in the photos below; there is no natural light, no earth, no fresh air, no opportunity for activity and certainly no opportunity for the sheep to live in a flock, and interact with each other as is their need. Shedded sheep have only one thing to look forward to throughout their miserable lives, and that is the small portions of feed they are given.  In saying this it is not known how often caged sheep are fed each day.


“Sheep are coated at all times with neatly fitted nylon fabric coats covering everything except the head, belly and breach to prevent contamination of the wool.”  A neatly fitted nylon coat for the whole time the sheep is caged, in the name of luxury and fashion.

“From entering the shed at approximately 2 years of age, the sheep remain in the shed as long as they are producing quality wool, up to 9 years of age but usually about 7 years.”  The ultimate fate of a retired sheep isn’t mentioned, but after up to 5 years of restricted confinement, there is significant doubt they would be able to live the remainder of their lives in pasture, in the fresh air, without nylon coats and a highly refined diet.

“Husbandry practices are required to be faultless so that the sheep are maintained in the optimum condition to ensure the wool produced reaches the Sharlea specifications.There is no mention of the welfare of the sheep regarding its life as an animal with natural tendencies and needs. The care is just to satisfy the needs of an exclusive industry.

Psychologically, sheep must be in close physical contact with other sheep because they are by nature herd animals. Because they are prey animals and can be threatened by predators such as dingoes and dogs, this provides a sense of protection. Sheep need to experience natural behaviours like maintaining close bonds with other mob or flock mates; having the freedom to graze and most importantly, the freedom of movement.

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