Blessed Wool - by Raithe Handiman (LW3)

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The wool industry has long been a vital part of the

Australian economy and it was said in the 1950s that

Australia was “riding on the sheep’s back”.

Not so today. Farmers are abandoning traditional

merino farming in favour of more lucrative cropping

and fat-lamb opportunities. To quote one grower,

“the free ride is over …”.

Compounding the situation is the fact that much of the

wool grown in Australia is now being processed in

China for a fraction of the cost and manufactured into products

there, then sent back for our retail markets. There has been a lot

of adverse publicity about the toxicity of some of these wool


Fortunately, increasing numbers of growers are converting to

organics, meaning that the sheep are not exposed to chemicals,

either through their food or through animal-husbandry practices.

Organic practices are beneficial to the sheep, to the grower and

to the environment, and organic farmers are far less likely to

resort to mulesing in order to counter fly strike.

In order for the wool to be certified, it must also be cleaned

to organic standards, using biodegradable detergents that

leave no chemical residue. In order for the end product to be

certified, all stages of the manufacturing process have to be

rigorously inspected to ensure that there is no possible risk of

contamination from uncertified materials and that there is an

uninterrupted ‘paper trail’, proving the organic integrity of the


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First printed in Living Wisdom #3