Sheep: Cruel confinement

Sheep: Cruel confinement
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PUBLISHED ON: 22 April 2013

Cruel confinement

Sheep are social animals who not only enjoy the company of others, but find safety in the herd. Yet, current laws allow sheep to be subjected to years of confinement and isolation.

Shedded sheep

Sheep are probably not the first animal to come to mind when you think about factory farming. But until recently, some sheep in the wool industry were being confined indoors, in individual pens for their entire lives. These unlucky animals wore the cost, while 'ultra-fine' wool producers cashed in on an international market of 'elite' fashion houses.

Fortunately, the last single-penned sheep farm in Australia has now closed down. While this is a major victory, sheep are not safe from factory farming yet:

  • There are currently no laws to prevent another single-penned sheep farm from starting up in Australia.
  • It's estimated that roughly 5,000 sheep are still confined to sheds, living in group pens around Australia. These sheep may never set foot outside, feel sunlight on their back, or graze on grass. Confined indoors they may not have adequate room to properly exercise or express their natural behaviours.


Sheep who are tethered (chained to a fixed position) can lead a life of isolation and deprivation. Unable to wander further than the chain around their neck will allow, they can be deprived of adequate exercise, access to shelter and the company of a herd.

Sadly, there are no laws preventing sheep from being tethered in Australia. Consequently, an estimated 1,250 sheep live a life permanently tethered around the country. Sheep unfortunate enough to live under such conditions are most often pets, who are being used to keep grass down in an unfenced area.


You can help!

Help ensure no sheep are ever confined in single pens again in Australia. Click here to call for ban on the single penning of sheep.

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