Monday, August 13, 2007

Ethical wool

British sheep and lamb
There is a British company producing wool garments, Izzy Lane, that is actually doing good to animals. So, if you like wool but don’t want to contribute to the exploitation and abuse of sheep, here is the solution. In the words of the founder, Isobel Davies, in her interview to London’s Sunday Times Magazine, “The more successful our clothes are, the more sheep we can save.”

This is because Isobel Davies, former member of the indie band Edith Strategy and now 45, had the idea of starting a label selling knitwear made with wool from sheep rescued from slaughter.

She became a vegetarian at 17 when she first met a vegetarian and discovered that it’s not necessary to eat meat. “From that second,” she says, “I never touched it again.”

The idea for the label Izzy Lane originated when Davies discovered that British farmers were discarding the wool from slaughtered sheep while Britain imports wool from Australia and New Zealand. She thought of using British wool and at the same time saving animals from the meat market.

So, now, whenever they hear of sheep going to be slaughtered, her company Izzy Lane buys them. They buy sheep destined to the abattoir for being male, lame, too old, or having ”blemishes” like black spots.

Her flock of Wensleydale and Shetland sheep is now living happy lives (if not treated like breeding machines, they can live for 15 years or so) in their Sheep Sanctuary. In July, when they shear them, the sheep “are relieved to be rid of their fleeces and seem rejuvenated”, as Davies put it.

Isobel says on her company’s website “As a longstanding vegetarian I have always been confronted with the argument that sheep would not exist if we didn’t eat them. Izzy Lane hopes to demonstrate an economic model whereby sheep can exist, be valued and have a place in our world without becoming meat. It offers another way.”