Mulesing, animal welfare, and merino sheep wool

Merino sheep wool is fantastically soft, fine and easy to felt, and it does not itch most people. I bought some merino wool and merino wool blend for felting and made a couple of rope scarves and necklaces. I also found lovely, soft merino-cotton blend yarn and made a couple of knitted skinny scarves and necklaces.

Then I learned about mulesing and how many animal welfare organizations work to find alternatives to this painful practice, for example RSPCA in Australia. Also many yarn and clothing producers prefer to use mulesing free wool.

I found myself in an ethical dilemma. Should I throw away ready made merino wool items and the small stock of merino felting wool and yarn? Wasting material did not feel like the right thing to do. I decided to list the few merino items in my Etsy shop, but refrain from buying more merino wool.

I began to use common sheep wool instead. It is more rough, but I designed rope scarves which match the roughness of the wool. My own test scarves did itch at first, but as I kept using them, the itching stopped. Bad conscience of using cruelly produced wool would itch much more.

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