How ethical is the wool you are wearing?

The past few years have been dedicated to fads and trends that come and go as fast as your twitter uploads. Super foods, super greens, gluten free, dairy free, to be Vegan or not be Vegan. How is your carbon footprint looking? Did you cycle to work? Is the paper you should ‘think before printing’ FSC certified, are your eggs really free range?

Pihepe Ram ethical sheep farming

How are we, as the average (super) human supposed to keep up with it all?

Well, you can’t. Simple truth. What you can do though is be thoughtful and conscious about what you do decide to choose. Just don’t compromise your happiness for the sake of fitting in.

There are also many terrible things going on in the world today that we are continuously bombarded with and we must decide for ourselves whether we believe the stories or whether they are ‘fake news’.

Down here in New Zealand we are in the middle of Winter and are being ravaged by winds, floods and cold temperatures that are ‘once in 100 year’ events but seem to be occurring more and more. We are wrapping ourselves up in the warmest woollen products that most of us have no idea where they came from.

New Zealand wool is pretty ‘up’ there with its ethical treatment of its sheep but the rest of the world not so much.

News stories from PETA (people for the ethical treatment of animals) tell us that mulesing (huge chunks of skin that are cut from the backsides of the animals) is still a common procedure in Australia, as well as tail docking and general disregard for the welfare of the animals.

I think we can all feel sympathetic when shown these stories and say, ‘I never want to buy wool products again!’. Although this boycott technique could work if we all did it, wool is a wonderful natural resource with amazing properties of insulation, moisture wicking, odour control and a softness that is supreme.

So, the way around this is to treat the sheep ethically with their welfare in mind, always!

What we do here at R&N Beattie partnership is consciously treat our sheep as they deserve. Our Pihepe and Bohepe are naturally nurtured with minimal contact. They are pasture raised and grazed, receive no chemical treatment, inoculation or antibiotics in their lifetime and their tails are left as nature intended, wagging behind them. They are shorn once a year in the summer thus allowing them to keep warm through the winter months.

Nature has been around far longer than modern chemical farming practises and has a way of ensuring its own survival. It would be truly remarkable if we thought we had more wisdom than nature.
— Roger Beattie


So next time you want to wrap up warm but are potentially vegan, think about these ethical brands who give a damn about their sheep. Our Wyld brand and can guarantee the ethics behind our products from start to finish and our hats are of premium quality. Patagonia, Ibex and Icebreaker are working their way towards being 100% ethical and we are following their stories.

Roger Beattie - A WILD CARD - Country Calendar 2016

'I've got a plan so clever you could pin a feather on it and call it a weka!'

Country Calendar - Stories from our rural heartland. By Matt Philp & Rob Suisted.

Roger has featured a few times now on Country Calendar but this book is a beautiful keepsake that explains who and what is all things Roger Beattie.

To buy a copy of the book please click here.


"Roger Beattie is on a roll. The wild sheep breeder, blue pearl farmer and kelp entrepreneur, and, yes, would-be weka farmer, a man who most days has a dozen ideas before breakfast, wants to explain where all this weka business is heading. He kills the quad bike and, for a moment, there's silence.

Somewhere above us on the slopes of Kowhai Vale, one of two farms that Roger owns in precipitous peninsular country across the water from Akaroa, a sheep bleats loudly. Pitt Island wild sheep, a breed that Roger so admired while working on the Chathams that he brought some home to farm, one that pulls together the wild sheep and his other great slow-burning project, the wekas.

The plan is hats. Beanies, to be accurate, as well as blankets, a new category of high-end woollen products exploiting the unique properties of the Pitt Island fleece, which has a helical crimp and a twist that gives it great bounce and stretch.

'It's exceptional wool,' Roger says. 'It's lightweight, resilient, it's got loft, warmth - all the attributes. These hats are unbelievable. They weigh two-thirds of a Merino hat but they're far warmer.' "

Excerpt from the Country Calendar book.