Actor Joaquin Phoenix refuses to wear wool after learning how traumatic the shearing process is on sheep.
The Gladiator star always opts for alternatives after watching a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) insider’s video which captured what goes on behind the scenes at a sheep farm as workers attempt to remove the creatures’ coats as quickly as possible.
“A couple of years ago I realized it was something I wanted to avoid,” he tells the animal rights organization’s Global magazine. “I’ve been vegan practically my whole life, and I don’t use animal products. I don’t use leather.
“But, really, when PETA sent me that video of this investigation of what happened in these shearing farms, that was eye-opening. It’s undeniably cruel.”
Joaquin also has sympathy for sheep farm workers, who are desensitized to the pain and suffering they are inflicting.
“I feel a sadness for everyone involved,” he adds. “It’s easy for us to sympathize with the animals, but the workers are incentivized to move as quickly as possible.
“It seems that the whole environment is one that’s incredibly stressful and uncomfortable, and I think that breeds an ugliness in the people involved. It’s apparent that for the quantity that they’re trying to gather, it’s impossible to do that in a humane way.”
PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange reveals exposes of the wool industry have revealed sheep are punched in the face, dragged through their own urine, stitched up without painkillers, and “subjected to other abuse” during the shearing process.
Phoenix insists it isn’t hard to find alternatives when it comes to red carpet suits, adding, “There’s so many different products that are available now.”