What are the various requirements for organic wool production?
In order to produce organic wool, there are a lot of requirements that need to be satisfied. Let’s see what those requirements are:
• Lamb husbandry: Organic wool bans and prohibits the use of synthetic chemical wormers and antibiotics in raising the animals. Other types of natural medications and techniques like proper pasture rotation, breed selection, intermediate host control, manure management, etc are used to treat animals suffering from disease or internal parasites.
• Genetic engineered sheep: The sheeps used for producing organic wool must be genetically produced. Lambs produced by methods like genetic engineering or cloning are not used. The newborn lambs or ewes are allowed to stay with their mother for around two months.
• Food feed to sheep: The livestock which is used as feed or fooders should also be grown and certified as organic. There are many materials that are strictly prohibited in the organically grown feed like hormones, antibiotics, growth promoters, plastic pellets for roughage, manure refeeding, mammalian or poultry animal by-products, urea, etc.
• Pasture rotation: The land or pasture on which sheep are raised is certified as organic according to the provisions of organic farming. Farming methods like crop rotation are followed by the land to naturally balance the soil, this also reduces the pest infestations of that land. This land should have properly defined boundaries and should have buffer zones to avoid contact with adjacent land or any restricted/ prohibited substance that is not organically managed.
• Shearing process: Just like human hair, wool also grows naturally and constantly on sheep. This hair or fleece of sheep acts as a waterproof coating for them which protects them from extreme climatic conditions and keeps them warm. The length, thickness and color of wool fibers vary from sheep breed to breed. The shearing process of organic wool is performed in the warm months. The sheep are also not dipped in liquid for the removal of parasites. In fact, the fleece is removed naturally with a lot of proper care so that the animal is not hurt in any case.
• Wool sourcing process: After the shearing process the raw fleece contains a lot of dust, dirt, pasture debris and natural oil. The process of removing this contamination from fleece or wool is known as the scouring process. This process includes the use of warm water and detergents in order to remove these contaminants. During the scouring process of organic wool, for the removal of impurities, only those detergents are used which do not contain chemicals and are approved by GOTS.
The further cleaning and processing stages of wool are done without the use of any kind of harsh detergents, bleaches, dyes, crimping chemicals or acid baths.