Articles: Why wool?

When my allergy sensitivity exploded, I had to replace most of my wardrobe. Now, at least half of what I wear is made of wool. I worry because when it comes to animal welfare, the assumption is that shearing (shaving) is somehow mean. In reality…

1. “Raw” wool (left on the sheep) is unhygienic. It traps fluids, such as urine and feces, which attract insects and can lead to irritation or infection.

2. Wool retains moisture. Removing the source of excess moisture can help keep a barn dry, which is especially important in cold weather, but it also helps lambs feed so they don’t accidentally suck on a dangling wad of wool.

3. Wool never stops growing. If a sheep’s wool gets too long it can cause heat stroke, restrict movement from the extra weight (even keep a sheep from righting itself after falling over), obstruct vision and is likely to get snagged on shrubs and weeds.

So then what about all the shorn wool? Rather than let it go to waste, consider its many practical uses. Since it’s warm yet breathable, doesn’t absorb liquid yet soaks up vapor and is fire-resistant, there are many potential applications.

Most commonly it’s in sweaters, blankets, shoes, stereo speakers, piano dampers and even soil fertilizer. I was skeptical at first but desperate for non- corn- infused material. When I found out Merino are being specifically bred for their soft texture I just had to try. Now I’m hooked!

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