I love wearing wool but I know sheep farming can be a terrible industry. Can anyone suggest ethical wool clothing brands?

What makes you think sheep farming is a “terrible industry”?

Have you spent any time on a sheep farm, or any kind of farm? Even a petting farm? Or are you just spouting nonsense from delusional idiots who know nothing about farming?

If you’re genuinely interested in ethical clothing, forget about “brands”. A lot of the big brands you’ll have heard of may have ethical lines, but quite often they’re not as ethical as they’re cracked up to be. Those who are genuinely ethical are usually very small brands, and can be hard to find because they embrace local marketing – for example, a sheep farmer who shears, spins, and weaves or knits garments for sale in local farmers markets or online, and/or sells wool to handknitters and weavers.

One way in which you could actually make an impact and have some control is to try making your own clothes. You can recycle fabrics and clothing, or buy artisanal fabrics. Here’s a duvet cover dress:

Here’s a puzzle dress you could also make from a duvet cover. Or an old embroidered linen table cloth:

An apron from an old pair of jeans:

and here, by the miracle that is (or was) the Wayback machine, are swants – trousers made from old sweaters:

Of course, you could also learn to knit…

Quora linky.

Is there such thing as ethical silk and wool?

Of course there is.

Tussah silk is made from silk cocoons the silkworm has abandoned. It’s a bit rougher and nuppy, because the single thread from which the cocoon was spun has been broken, but it’s still silk and quite lovely.

To my way of thinking, ALL wool is ethical. NOT shearing sheep is animal neglect at the very minimum.

There is a rather unpleasant practice, limited to Australia – and even there they’re trying to end it – called ‘mulesing’, which traditionally involves no-anaesthetic surgery to a sheep’s anus and tail. However, mulesing could be done with anaesthetic, and there are other measures being put in place to prevent flystrike. It’s pretty nasty for an animal-lover to read about, but the alternative is for the sheep to be eaten alive by blow-fly maggots. If it were me, I think I’d go with the no-anaesthetic surgery, but then I was once threatened with an emergency no-painkillers episiotomy. If you want to avoid Australian wool completely, until mulesing is history, just check at the yarn label. Alternatively, buy local, from artisan mills and dyers who source their fibre locally.

Originally appeared on Quora.