Sheep are gentle individuals who, like humans, want to live and feel loved and also feel pain, fear, and loneliness. Yet because there’s a market for their fleece and skin, they’re treated as mere wool-producing machines. PETA is determined to save sheep and incentivize clothing designers with the launch today of the $1 million Vegan Wool Challenge, which offers a windfall to the first entrant who develops a vegan wool material that’s visually, texturally, and functionally akin or superior to sheep’s wool and is adopted and sold by a major clothing brand.

“From apples and hemp to kombucha tea and cacti, there seems to be no limit to what designers can use to create wonderful, animal-free clothing and accessories,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is delighted to offer innovative minds a big boost that will protect sheep, push fashion forward, and help stop the environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture.”

The Wool Industry Harms Sheep and the Environment

PETA entities have documented cruelty to sheep in 117 wool operations worldwide, revealed in 14 exposés that found that even on “sustainable” and “responsible” farms, workers beat, stomped on, cut up, and slit the throats of conscious, struggling sheep. While there are many durable, stylish, and warm fabrics available that aren’t made from animal-derived materials, the creation of a viable, sustainable vegan wool could help abate suffering and fight the climate catastrophe—as the wool industry produces massive amounts of methane, erodes soil, and contaminates waterways.

Among animals, sheep are second only to cows when it comes to the production of the greenhouse gas methane. The huge flocks of sheep bred in the wool industry produce enormous amounts of manure, which pollutes the water, land, and air. Sheep farming can have detrimental effects on surrounding ecosystems. Studies have shown that sheep “dip,” a toxic chemical used to rid sheep of external parasites, can poison nearby waterways and kill fish.

Vegan Wool Challenge Details

The tide is turning against animal-derived materials, and people—especially young consumers—now object in droves to supporting industries predicated on animal exploitation and slaughter. A recent survey by Glamour magazine found that approximately 73% of Gen Z identifies as animal rights activists.

To enter, read the complete challenge rules* and then complete the form below. The form must be submitted online, and vegan wool samples must be mailed to PETA at 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510 by July 28, 2023, in order to be considered.

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