As far as I know, some sheep need to be shorn because they were bred to produce more wool. If such a sheep is rescued from a sheep station by an animal sanctuary,

  • which is a non-profit organization, and
  • where the shearer cares about the sheep,

could this wool be considered vegan?

As they are not allowed to make profit, and as the shearers are animal protectionists, there is no economic pressure to shear in a rushed way (which would harm the sheep).

(Bonus: If yes, does this get done somewhere? Is there "certified vegan" wool?)

2 Answers 2


A lot of the questions asking about something being considered vegan can be answered by asking Considered by whom?. While there are some clear-cut rules that comprise the core vegan ideology, many lines that surround these are blurry to some extent and therefore susceptible to producing differing opinions on these borderline cases.

  • If the question asks potential answerer about his opinion, I would consider wool harvested under the conditions set out above to be vegan.
  • If the question asks the site as a whole - we might see what others have to say and perhaps get an idea of that as well.
  • If the question asks about vegans in general, I suspect majority would consider it vegan, but definitely not all of them.

One important aspect which was not mentioned in the question that could (and would) be a tipping point for me personally would be whether these sanctuaries purposely breed these sheep once they are rescued to sustain their production. If so, that would definitely have an influence on my perception of the veganity (according to Wiktionary, I personally would go for veganness) of the wool.

As for your bonus question, I am personally not aware of any organizations that would be doing this. Even if there were some, I believe their yearly production would be very much limited and the chance to purchase their products similarly so. If what you are after is certified vegan wool-like material, going for clothes made out of yarn from plant-based fibres or something similar might be your best bet.


Short answer: it depends on the "brand" of veganism you are talking about.

Even the way the sheep has been saved can influence the view one can have on the subject.

If the sheep that has been saved has been bought back before being killed, the saving in itself can be viewed as vegan (you saved an individual from death) or non-vegan (by paying them, you created an incentive for the industry to keep exploiting sheep).

My personal opinion on the subject:

I have nothing against the idea of "vegan wool" in the way you described it. Only if it isn't sold in any way.

But as soon as it is sold (even by a non-profit), you create an incentive for more production. Sell more wool to keep the sanctuary running more smoothly, etc... And incentives often win in the long run.

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