PETA raises new abuse claims

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Animal rights activists have released unsubstantiated footage of abuse of sheep in Australia and the US to urge consumers not to buy woollen clothing.

PETA Australia campaign co-ordinator Claire Fryer said the Australian footage was filmed in the past 11 months, and included 19 shearing sheds across Victoria, NSW and South Australia.

"Many of those seen on camera were aware they were being recorded," she said.

The footage released showed shearers punching, kicking and throwing sheep.

"There is no such thing as 'humane' wool, and we urge consumers to choose cruelty-free or synthetic alternative materials," Ms Fryer said.

PETA would not release the locations of the sheds because of safety concerns for its investigators.

Ms Fryer said full and comprehensive details of the footage had been provided to the appropriate authority.

The Shearing Contractors Association of Australia has contacted members to reinforce the need for "zero tolerance" towards animal abuse by employees in the work place.

WA Shearing Industry Association president Darren Spencer said WASIA expected its contractor members and their staff to practice best industry standards in animal handling.

American Sheep Industry Association policy deputy director Paul Rogers said all the abuse footage in the US was attributed to one travelling shearing crew and committed by one shearer.

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