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Bah-d idea? PETA asks Dorset village Wool to change name to ‘Vegan Wool’

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Not many people outside Dorset will have heard of Wool.

It’s a quiet village of around 5,000 people, with picture postcard thatched cottages, a haunted bridge, and a Manor House that provided inspiration for Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbevilles.

But now it finds itself going viral, after animal rights group PETA wrote a polite letter to the parish council to ask them to change the village name.

To Vegan Wool.

The campaigners say the wool industry is cruel, with many animals hurt or abused during shearing. The name change, they say, would be showing an act of kindness to sheep.

But they haven’t pulled the vegan alternative over many eyes in Wool.

Wool has been asked to consider a vegan-friendly name change. Pic: Google Street View
Image:
Wool has been asked to consider a vegan-friendly name change. Pic: Google Street View

“PETA are trying to get a message across, they’ve managed to do some good marketing and publicity, but they’re using us to do it”, said parish councillor Dave Way.

He added: “When we first saw the letter we thought it was an early or late April Fool’s joke. We will discuss it, but a name change is highly unlikely.”

Sam Peters is manageress at Ruby’s Tea Room in Wool, and a vegan.

She said it was good to raise awareness of animal rights issues but worried it could potentially show vegans in a bad light.

“I used to work in marketing,” she said. “So I can see why they’ve done it. But it leaves it open for those who don’t share PETA’s principles to ridicule and abuse vegans, particularly online.”

Local residents, from our experience, were not impressed.

“Ridiculous”, “ludicrous” and “just plain stupid” were just some of the reactions from members of the public as they were asked about a possible name change.

Even PETA’s promise to provide the whole village with vegan wool blankets could not sway locals.

“It’s always been Wool,” said one. “And I hope it always will be.”

Many were also keen to point out that the name Wool does not refer to sheep or their fleeces. Instead it comes from the Anglo-Saxon for well or water springs.

For PETA, this is mission accomplished with lots of publicity gained for an issue, which it believes deserves it.

For the people of (not Vegan) Wool, it has provided an interesting diversion from regular village life. And it has certainly put them on the map.

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