Sheep are some of the most adorable (and fluffiest!) animals on the planet. They’re all about teamwork, and they hang out in groups called “flocks.” If threatened, a flock of sheep will run together for a short distance, then turn to face the danger as a group. Flockmates care for each other, and sheep can recognize their friends’ faces even if they’ve been separated for years!
Just like dogs, humans, and many other animals, sheep make different sounds to communicate. They also have excellent vision—they can see 270 degrees around them without turning their heads! This makes it very hard to sneak up on a sheep. Fun fact: When sheep sense danger, they walk backward so they can keep an even closer eye on any enemies.
Sheep are gentle individuals who, like all animals, feel pain, fear, and loneliness. But because there’s a market for their fleece and skins, the wool industry treats them as nothing more than wool-producing machines. If they were left alone and not genetically manipulated, sheep would grow just enough wool to protect themselves from temperature extremes. The fleece provides them with effective insulation against both cold and heat.
In order to keep flies away, workers on wool farms often cut off some of the skin on sheep’s backsides without using any pain medicine. This is called “mulesing.” Sheep used for their wool often have holes punched in their ears, and their tails are cut off—both without pain killers.
The use of wool for clothing and other products hurts sheep, but you can help them! Just make sure that you never wear wool and that you talk to your parents about wool, too. Let them and your friends know that it’s easy to find wool-free clothes anywhere and that they’re usually cheaper than clothes made from wool (that’ll make your mom and dad happy, right?!).
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