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Winter is fast approaching and with the cold weather fashionistas and the style-blind alike are unboxing their winter wear. While someone doesn’t need to be an animal rights activist to know fur production is a horrible practice, many don’t realize that their other animal derived alternatives are just as inhumane.

The Myths About Wool

“Sheep need to be sheered!”

False: Sheep in the wild will grow hair when it’s cold and shed hair when it’s warmer. Unfortunately, domesticated sheep for wool production are bred so they produce hair more often and quickly so wool producers can make more profit per sheep.

“Wearing wool is environmentally friendly and sustainable!”

False: Sheep in wool production, like all factory farmed animals, need food, water, shelter and transportation. The fact is that these sheep are livestock used for profit and they take up resources, pollute water, and are not eco-friendly.

“But sheep used for wool aren’t hurt or killed!”

FALSE! Wool production is a process where sheep are sheered as quickly as possible to create the highest profits. Sheep are normally mishandled and hurt badly in this process. Sheep in the winter that have been sheered are left to the elements and freeze without their natural coat. Like all factory farmed animals, sheep are forced to live in dirty and tight conditions. Sheep get their tails cut and males are castrated both without anesthetics. Many sheep get lice, fleece rot, foot rot or other deseases without veterinary help. Many die in their pens.

There is also mulesing, which is the most cruel part of wool production.

Check out this video and judge for yourself:

Wool Alternatives

Now that it’s clear wool is not humane, eco-friendly, or needed we can discuss where to find alternatives to wool. There are many alternatives to wool like cotton or other synthetic fibers. Clothing made of these materials are just as warm as wool and just as fashionable. My favorite vegan company for coats is Vaute Couture. Check out the website here.  When you’re shopping at conventional department stores it’s important to look at the tags to be sure what you’re buying non-wool items. I’ve found non-wool coats, sweaters and more at many stores like Macy’s, GAP, and H&M.

Vaute Couture Men’s JOAQUIN Coat

Vaute Couture Women’s LORI Coat

In personal news, I’ll be traveling to Japan next month and I’m really excited to try out the great vegan food in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. I’ll definitely be sure to post reviews of my favorite spots! If you have suggestions, be sure to post them in the comments.

Please post comments about your thoughts on wool or let me know if there’s something I might have missed!