Is Wool Vegan?
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Is Wool Vegan?

Posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Yarn in basketAs summer turns into autumn, and the weather changes, people start wanting to wear sweaters and woolen socks. This may seem like a simple solution for coping with cooler, and then cold, weather. That being said, people who are vegan might wonder whether or not wool is considered to be vegan.

What does vegan mean?
Vegan.com has a definition for the word vegan. “The word vegan refers to a food or material free from any animal products: no meat, milk, eggs, honey, wool, goose down, or leather.” It goes on to note that animal-derived byproducts, such as whey, lard, or gelatin, are not vegan. From this definition, we can conclude that wool is not vegan.

Why isn’t wool vegan?
Wool comes from sheep, alpacas, or goats. It comes from the hair that these animals grow naturally. This means that wool is an animal byproduct. If something comes from an animal – then it is not vegan.

People who are vegan choose a lifestyle that avoids animal mistreatment and slaughter. This important concept connects directly to wool. Many people mistakenly believe that when wool is harvested from an animal that it is the equivalent of the animal having a haircut. That might be true with some small farms, but is generally not the case.

Since the time when sheep were domesticated, humans started breeding sheep that produce extremely thick coats. Those coats are sheered off to harvest the wool. Some farms are not very kind to their animals when this happens and actually cause them harm. In addition, sheep can end up with too thick a coat in hot weather or no coat in cold weather.

What products use wool?
Wool can be found in many types of clothing. This includes sweaters, socks, and other winter clothing that is intended to keep people warm. It can also be found in business suits, upholstery, carpets, and even in the stuffing of some mattresses. Some types of yarn are made of wool.

Is used wool ok?
There seems to be some debate about whether or not it is ok for a vegan to buy a used sweater, that is made out of wool, from a thrift store. On one hand, it is still wool, and some feel that this means vegans should not use it.

On the other hand, some feel that the damage to the sheep has already been done. They note that buying a wool sweater at a thrift store doesn’t cause additional harm to an animal, and that it also doesn’t give money to the wool industry. Ultimately, each person needs to decide for themselves whether or not they want to wear used wool.

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