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Make Tennis Vegan
A group called Sheeps has launched a campaign and a petition to encourage the removal of  wool from the manufacture of tennis balls. Wool is not necessary and there are already tennis ball available that do not use wool. If tennis balls were vegan  they would have no part in the sheep shearing industry that has been found to abuse sheep during the shearing.  Tennis could be cruelty free if it rejected wool based tennis balls.

I did not know that there is wool in tennis balls. Now that I know, I will sign the petition. This is one of those things where they use wool because they have always used wool. There are better alternatives, but no one ever thought of changing. This is a little piece of the wool industry,  but it would send a message if tennis balls rejected the use of wool.
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As you know, Catherine, we had sheep for a good many years. They were almost part of our family and we were very attached to them. Part of caring for them was having to shear them. We did not do this for pleasure (it takes hours and was backbreaking), nor for profit (we did not sell it).

However, not shearing sheep is *not* an option. To leave sheep to overheat in the summer with thick wool coats would be an act of cruelty. In past years I would occasionally see the odd small field where sheep had been "left to it" by their owners (I will not call them caretakers) who were too busy or too old to shear them. The effects were indeed cruel: panting, even losing consciousness, during a heatwave; rubbing on trees and posts because of skin irritation; very long, matted coats which dragged on the ground and got filthy in the winter; and above all: the dreaded fly strikes, where flies would be attracted to the dung stuck on the long fibres. The flies would lay eggs in the skin, causing maggots to grow under the skin.

This never happened with our sheep. They were shorn yearly, with love and respect. At the same time, they were treated to "pedicure", worm treatment and anti-fly treatment. Our sheep were so used to the routine that we did it with them standing up, with one person calming them with caresses and little treats, whilst another did the shearing.

There are some farms which produce wool in a humane fashion. It can be done. If you remember, Catherine, some while ago I posted a video of humane shearing being done (also a video of alpaca shearing).

However, I totally condemn the cruel way in which the vast majority of sheep are shorn. The situation is particularly bad when shearers are paid per sheep (piecework). This encourages them to work fast, in order to make the most money possible in the shortest time. So I can understand why organisations are seeking to avoid the use of wool in clothes - and now tennis balls. Animal welfare must be the most important thing for anyone who has any animal in his/her care. It is certainly the case that almost all of the commercially produced sheep wool has been cruelly shorn.

However, with the vital condition that it must be done with love and great care, avoiding stress and pain, it remains true that shearing is essential for sheep. Otherwise, pain and suffering will result from severe overheating in summer and fly strike.
I understood that sheep needed shearing and foot care.   I have read about cases of neglected sheep in serious trouble because they are not clipped. So as long as we have sheep we will have wool for our use. Reading what you wrote however tells me it is far more serious to neglect to shear a sheep. I did not realize it would cause that much harm.

I think we have done  threads about ethical shearing as opposed to "factory farm style" shearing.  The high volume, high speed shearing is what causes injuries and discomfort to sheep and other animals that need shearing. I would think mass produced tennis balls would use wool from high volume sources.
They could easily switch to something non wool and spare the sheep. 

Ethically sourced wool would still be available for use in wool garments. Knitters would still have plenty of wool to work with.
It would be better to move away from mass produced things like tennis balls that encourage the factory farm approach.

Wool is too amazing to be wasted on mass produced items. It should be used to make beautiful and necessary items.
Real wool is warm and it stays warm even if it gets damp. During a Canadian winter I love my wool socks.
Thank-you to the sheep that made them possible.
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That is a really great post, LPC.
If sheep were treated differently, with more respect and kindness as you have treated yours, it would be little problem to shear them and wouldn't need to be violent in any way.

And yes, to keep them healthy, it's essential to shear them. Actually, for a really good pro. sheep shearer it does not take long to shear a sheep. I have watched videos of it being done. It's amazing! The sheep doesn't much like it but it's over in about 10 minutes, and then the sheep runs off feeling much cooler and lighter!

The problem lies in mass shearing of huge  numbers, and the fear and terror as well as injury the sheep endure.
Speed, and high yield in the shortest possible time -that is the problem. And that seems to be the tendency for all forms of manufacturing, farming, and commerce nowadays.

Too many people wanting too much produce.....people wanting more profit....speed, efficiency....all come before kindness.

I really didn't know tennis balls were covered with wool. I have lived 67 years and never knew that!
I didn't know about the wool in tennis balls either. It makes you wonder what else has wool or other animal products in it.

Quote:Too many people wanting too much produce.....people wanting more profit....speed, efficiency....all come before kindness.

This is the whole problem with our treatment of animals and the environment too. If you put profits first something has to come second.
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