British Wool Marketing Board won't allow welfare standards on Br
Izzy Lane has a wonderful business - ethical fashion from the fleece from her own flocks of rare Shetland and Wensleydale sheep. It's an amazing story - read more here This is Izzy with one of her Wensleydales: But the following is one of the issues that she and many sheep farmers are up against. This is her press release: "For several years Isobel Davies has been working to bring attention to animal welfare standards in wool production, as well as give support to, as well as to create markets for British Wool and aid the ailing British Textile Industry. While continuing to use the wool from her won600 strong rescued flock, a deal was pending to break into the mainstream with Tesco having sought out Izzy Lane for a diffusion range. Izzy Lane was to deliver the first wool cloth ever with an animal welfare standard on it. The cloth would be made in Britain using some of the last scourers, spinners, dyers, weavers and finishers in the country and located in areas now depressed and with a high unemployment as a result of the demise of the textile industry. It was a glimmer of hope in a struggling industry, British wool heading for the first time to supermarket rails and with an animal welfare standard to boot. In the initial work, Isobel was supported by certain employees of the Wool Board who helped to identify farmers who met her strict criteria which included: No sheep from the flock to ever be live-exported No sheep to ever be sold in livestock markets, with the exception of breeding stock No sheep to ever be transported for more than 120 miles or a maximum time of 3 hours, with the exception of breeding stock. Each farmer by law has to send their wool to the British Wool Marketing Board. Once it arrives, it goes into the bulk and loses its source and identity. It is then auctioned off to the wool merchants. The farmers are paid so little that many just burn and bury it as it doesn't even cover shearing costs. Britain's wealth was founded on the wool trade in the Middle Ages and it is what later fuelled the industrial revolution. But it is now sadly deemed a "waste product". The wool for Isobel's project was sent to the wool board, all tagged up and ready to be sent off to be processed. Then the shock, that the Wool Board would not endorse the use of animal welfare standards in the promotion of British wool as it didn't think it was fair to those farmers who do not meet the criteria. British wool in British supermarkets, Britain setting the precedent for animal welfare in the fashion industry, the support of the British mills in these difficult times, premiums paid for the wool to the struggling farmers. There was also a deal to supply the fabric for coats to export to Japan. Isobel Davies" If you are surprised, or shocked by any of this, please let others know. I'm currently using fleece from Shetlands, Portlands and Manx Loaghtans among others for my work - you can see some of it here. I love them all, with their fine fleece and beautiful colours.