If you are interested in animal welfare as well as preserving the environment you may be excited to learn about organic wool gloves. Sheep that are raised to produce organic wool are raised more naturally and have less impact on the planet than those at traditional wool farms.
Problems with Conventional Wool
There are two key items to think about when considering traditional wool versus organic wool. These are pesticides and antibiotics.
Problems with Pesticides
According to the Organic Wool Trade Association, sheep in the U.S. were exposed to over 14,000 pounds of pesticides in the year 2000 alone. Sheep can be either sprayed or dipped in these chemicals, often multiple times. This can produce the following problems:
- Soil contamination
- Harmful runoff into groundwater
- Illnesses in farm workers, such as increased anxiety
Risks of Antibiotics
Farm workers habitually add the antibiotics chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline to sheep feed since the overcrowded conditions at most farms encourage the spreading of disease. Feeding sheep antibiotics can also help them grow faster so they produce more meat as well as more wool. So what is the problem here? There are several.
- Just like pesticides, feed with antibiotics in it can seep into the soil and water.
- Antibiotics can also be spread via the animals' waste, especially when it's left in open canals.
- The overexposure of antibiotics can result in more resistant bacteria.
Other items that may be present in nonorganic feed are growth hormones, animal byproducts and various types of medicines.
What Makes Wool Organic
Sheep that produce organic wool are not treated with pesticides or antibiotics and are not allowed to graze on land that is treated with any type of chemical insecticide. They are not permitted to eat any feed that has been genetically modified and must graze on farms that are certified organic.
Products made with organic wool are said to be free of harmful chemicals that could seep into the skin and may even be more comfortable for people with skin allergies than traditional wool gloves.
About Organic Wool Gloves
Since wool gloves get a lot of use during the winter months, people worried about pesticides seeping into the skin should take heed. The more they are worn, the more possible exposure there could be, which makes going organic a big plus. In addition, these gloves are biodegradable and are naturally fire retardant.
They can also be quite attractive, as proven by the gloves offered at the following online stores:
It's also possible to buy organic wool yarn and then make gloves out of it. This can be an advantage to some because they can choose the color and the pattern and make the gloves to any size. Organic yarn is held to the same standards as organic clothing, so there is no sacrifice to the animals or the planet to obtain gloves this way instead. A few shops that sell organic wool yarn are:
Other Sources for Organic Wool
While most organic wool gloves sold in the United States are made from merino wool, which comes from sheep, there are also organic fibers that come from llamas and alpacas. People interested in animal welfare may prefer these types of fibers since these animals are not traditionally raised for food in this country. These animals have double coats, so the wool may be coarse or fine, depending on whether it's from the top coat or the undercoat. Most times the coarser coat is used for nonwearable items, such as rugs and place mats. Amazon.com sells organic alpaca gloves through the outside seller, Home Naturals, Inc., and many organic farmers sell alpaca or llama yarn they make themselves.