Are Sheepskins Ethical?

Are Sheepskins
Environmentally Sound?
A Byproduct?

Pair of herdwick sheep

A sheepskin is a sheep’s skin (funny that) and has come from an animal that has been slaughtered, usually for meat.

No sheep are slaughtered specifically for their skin.

Sheepskins are a by-product of the meat industry and have no real value until they are tanned.

Fewer than 1 in 200 sheepskins are tanned (0.045%), the rest are dealt with as waste.

How many sheep does it take to make a sheepskin? Just one, although some companies stitch portions together (we currently don’t).

Are sheepskins ethical?

Your call. Only you can decide whether sheepskins are ethical, but we are currently destroying millions of them. In the UK alone 15 million sheepskins are burned or buried each year. Less than two decades ago wool was the primary reason for farming sheep here, now it’s meat. The ratio changed as recently as 2001. The UK currently farms a lot more sheep to eat.

Whilst I argue that there is a strong environmental case for using sheepskin (and as such an ethical case), it cannot be said that buying sheepskin will help the sheep themselves in any direct way. Sheepskins are indifferent to the lives of sheep. Save for one simple fact: The best sheepskin will have never been near barbed wire. Sheep like being outdoors on grass, even better when that grass is mixed in with all sorts of vegetation, as it is on Dartmoor.

Indoors | Outdoors

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Sheepskins are as eco as your regular laundry

They can be washed and dried using your regular wash, like a quality pair of jeans (this is how). During the wash, sheepskin sheds fewer hair fragments than man-made fabrics. The fibres that it does shed are harmless and will completely biodegrade.

Crafted to last a lifetime – sheepskin is not a throw away item, neither is it delicate or precious. It will last for as long as you store it dry. Use sheepskin outdoors or indoors, just wash (not too hot), and store dry.

Are sheepskins ethical? You must decide for yourself if sheepskins are ethical. We think so, and so do our friends and customers.

Having said this, even some meat eaters feel squeamish about such an overt animal product as a sheepskin. If that’s you, we hope there’s no hard feelings.

14 thoughts on “Are Sheepskins Ethical?”

  1. I am interested in purchasing sheep skins from you because of your article on Ethics. Do your skins sell as Tanned? Do you ship to the USA?

    • Hi There, Yes, our fleeces come from our tannery on Dartmoor which has been tanning for over 100 years and all our fleeces ship fully tanned. We do ship to the USA, we have several USA customers, you can have it shipped by tracked so you can follow the progress of your delivery too 🙂 Apologies for the late reply!

    • Hi Harry, you can click on any sheepskin in the shop and pay using Paypal or your normal credit or debit card. We also accept pay later and even crypto payments if you click through to the full basket checkout.
      Hope this helps, Chris


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