Lots of misinformation in the answers here. Firstly, if […]
Lots of misinformation in the answers here. Firstly, if you have your own sheep who you care for and trim off some wool, then I don’t see an ethical problem as long as the sheep does not suffer in any way. However, most people get their wool from the wool industry, which is highly cruel. I’ve broken down the wool industry cruelty in 5 parts below:
I. In nature, sheep do not produce so much wool that they knitted fabrics would die from overheating. The humans of wool industry have selectively manipulated and artificially bred modern sheep to have thick layers of wool to increase profitability. Let’s not pretend that shearing wool is done out of concern and “public service” for the animal.
II. Sheep are mutilated soon after birth - holes are punched into their ears (for identification) their tails are chopped off - process known as tail docking (to prevent infection) - and the males are castrated without painkillers. “According to the 2011 NAHSM Survey, 88.1 percent of US sheep farms dock their lambs; 68.5 pecent castrate ram lambs.”
III. Castration can be done by making an incision and surgically cutting their testicles out. But the most common method is to place a tight rubber ring around the base of the sheep’s testicles so the blood supply is cut off and the testes slowly shrivel, wither and drop off after 2 weeks. This procedure is extremely painful and done without any painkillers.
IV. The shearing process typically cuts into the sheep skin, because workers are not paid by the hour, but rather by the volume of wool they shear. Thus, they work rapidly without care for the sheep’s safety. “This hasty and careless shearing leads to frequent injuries, and workers use a needle and thread to sew the worst wounds shut—without any pain relief. Strips of skin—and even teats, tails, and ears—are often cut or ripped off during shearing.” 
V. Similar to dairy industry, which sends dairy cows to slaughter after they’re “spent,” the wool industry sends sheep for slaughter when wool production declines. This is to maximize profitability.
In conclusion, wool industry exploits sheep from the moment they are born. And by purchasing wool, you are directly funding this exploitation and violence. Luckily, countless wonderful alternatives to wool now exist and there is no need for anyone to use wool.