Investigations by Animals Australia in 2004 and 2011 at "The Wool Factory" — a wool factory farm in Victoria — revealed more than a thousand sheep being confined in sheds in tiny individual pens in order to produce 'ultra-fine wool' for high end fashion garments such as suits. Investigators documented sheep chewing on the wooden slats and strands of wire of their pens due to stress, frustration and boredom. These animals can endure this solitary confinement for some 5 or 6 miserable years.
A 2009 scientific study at this factory farm found that the majority of observed sheep displayed behaviours commonly perceived as ‘stereotypies’, abnormal behaviours such as head butting or nosing and chewing pen fixtures, pacing and pawing. Sheep would usually graze in a paddock most of the day with their flock; instead, as in other intensive animal industries, in these ‘factory sheds’ their behavioural and social needs are ignored.
In December 2011, The Wool Factory announced that ultra-fine wool was no longer viable, and so they would be ceasing production of ultra-fine wool and selling all their sheep by June 2012. As of April 2013, there are no known single pen shed sheep operations left in Australia. While this is positive news, the practice is not yet outlawed and sheep could be made to suffer in this way again if an operator decides it is economically viable.
Please help us protect sheep from suffering this fate by calling on the Victorian Government to ban all wool production that confines sheep indoors.