Is Wool Vegan?
To answer the question, is wool vegan? To my surprise, the answer is more complex and deep than I expected. If you are vegan, is using wool against your belief system? What wool, if any wool would be vegan? Find out below.
I first had to find the definition of being vegan. According to Wikipedia, there are several types of vegans and perhaps even a spectrum. Veganism includes dietary vegans, individuals who do not eat animal products but do use products made from animal products. It also includes ethical vegans who do not consume animals products and also do not use clothing or other items made from animal products. (1)
I asked some actual vegans
Next, I asked some vegan friends to weigh in. The answers varied greatly. One said that they would never use wool, but after some discussion came to the conclusion that if the wool was collected not specifically for manufacturing, but rather in a routine sheep trimming and the animals are treated very well, this wool would be acceptable.
Another vegan I asked felt as though their practice was strictly diet related. They said that the byproducts of animals used for human consumption are acceptable. For example, cows used for meat may have their hide made into leather items. This was okay as long as the animal wasn't used specifically for this purpose, but was something that would otherwise be discarded.
While these are two individual opinions, I also believe that there are persons who will not use the animal product under any circumstances and as Wikipedia mentioned, falls on the vegan spectrum too.
So, is wool vegan?
(Pinterest image below)
I went locally to see sheep being sheared
I am very fortunate to live by a farm preserve. They open the annual sheep shearing to the public and shear the sheep for everyone to see. The man had a large pair of clippers, similar to what I cut my boy's hair with, and started by gently laying the sheep on it's side.
To my surprise, the sheep went into a trance of some sort where they were completely still until the shearing was over. The trim was fast, the sheep were left with a short layer of coat, and not completely bald, kind of like a sheep buzz-cut the military would approve of. I looked for insult or injury and the sheep looked great. When they were finished they ran back into their open space.
This is done every year as part of the regular sheep-care. Their wool isn't harvested or sold for commercial use. However, after it was over the public was asked to feel and look at the wool. A lesson about lanolin was given and the importance of the annual trim.
Then, the wool just sat. I asked, "is anyone going to use this?" I was told that a few of the volunteers will take it to spin it into yarn, but it generally goes unused. I thought...what a shame! Those sheep grew this beautiful wool all year and it should get used for something!
Wool is or isn't vegan
Turns out, the answer depends on your individual beliefs. To me, using the best wool possible is very important. One of the reasons I was initially drawn to HumBird's wool cloth diaper covers for my children is the wool quality.
HumBird used Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic wool. This means that the 95/5 wool from HumBird is GOTS organic certified. Did you know that that means every step of wool production must pass certain quality standards which INCLUDES how the animals are treated?
"The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain." Plants are inspected individually and must pass rigour standards. (2)
Dawn, owner seamstress and also packing/shipping department (one woman army), said "Animal treatment is very important to me and although I can never guarantee that the sheep used are humanely treated, unless I raise them myself, as a responsible human being I can take every opportunity to buy wool that must pass standards to get GOTS qualification. For the fabric to pass this certification the livestock must pass the USDA NOP organic livestock standards."
I urge you also to read up on GOTS certification and why it's important in textiles.
So, is wool vegan?
Turns out, the answer is not very clear and really depends on your personal beliefs. I can tell you that here we strive to get the best materials with the most humane treatment of animals for wool cloth diaper covers, wool longies, wool diaper covers and even use organic fabrics in the cotton products.
Thank you for stopping by and please check the ready to ship section. As always, custom items are available and if you don't see it in the shop, send a message to have it made quickly with fast and reasonably priced worldwide shipping.