Buyer Beware, Some Wool Rugs Do Come With a Price
If you're looking for a high quality area rug for either your office or home, start by looking at wool rugs. Heavy in weight, rugs made from wool are usually made by hand or are machine tufted, ensuring that the quality of craftsmanship isn't compromised. Ideal for protecting your floors and adding a decorative touch of style to your home, consumers need to be wary about where their wool comes from.
Naturally, wool comes from sheep; however, it's the process of how the wool is shorn off the sheep that should concern consumers. Clothing, carpeting and other production industries usually get their wool from Australia and New Zealand, but not all are aware that a sheep shearing technique known as mulesing is used. Mulesing began in the 1930s in Australia, mulesing is considered a cheap sheep shearing surgical technique, removing the wool and cutting the skin off the sheep in the process. It has been noted that the sheep do feel pain from the method, considering that anesthesia is rarely if ever used.
Used as a method to prevent flystrike, a disease in which flies lay their eggs around the tail end of animals, resulting in the growth of maggots and ultimately death, mulesing requires the sheep shearer to remove the wool around the hind quarters and tail of sheep. As mentioned earlier, the process cuts the skin of the sheep along the way, which then lead to open sores making it susceptible to infection. The practice of mulesing is still going on in parts of Australia, but as of early November 2004 the Australian wool industry has resolved to phase out this practice by 2010 after deciding that alternative and non-harmful methods of shearing can be used.
Until this practice is phased out, it's a good idea to purchase wool rugs in which the wool is from New Zealand. New Zealand wool is known as the best in the wool industry because basic shearing, non-mulesing techniques are used. With the gradual phasing out of mulesing, the wool industry moving forward; it won't be long until everyone can enjoy high quality wool rugs, clothing and other housing products without having to worry how their wool was harvested.