Animal rights campaigners are requesting that an historic house with links to the blanket trade become a museum 'highlighting empathy for sheep suffering for wool'.

Rock House in the middle of Witney, which was once home to the 19th century wool merchant Henry Salmon as well as the Early family, founders of Witney’s famous wool blanket company, is for sale.

PETA has sent a letter to the estate agents Savills Oxford Summertown asking that it be dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of the animals – and encouraging consumers to wear vegan clothing instead of wool.

PETA Vice President of UK Programmes and Operations Elisa Allen said: “More people are becoming aware that, like human beings, sheep feel joy, pain, and fear and deserve not to be treated as wool-producing machines whose lives end with the abattoir knife.

"PETA’s empathy museum would inspire people to view sheep as individuals and to steer clear of wool in favour of eco- and animal-friendly vegan clothing.”

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PETA’s proposed museum would highlight that sheep are able to recognise other sheep and even humans from photographs and devise ways to overcome obstacles.

PETA said its entities have documented cruelty to sheep at wool operations worldwide in 15 exposes.

Even on deceptively named “sustainable” and glaringly irresponsible “responsible” farms, workers can be seen beating, stamping on, cutting open, and slitting the throats of sheep who are scared and struggling as they are shorn, it said.

A Scottish shearer has pled guilty to charges of cruelty to animals.

The group also proposes a museum gift shop which would showcase natural, eco- and animal-friendly vegan wool products made from organic cotton, linen, Tencel, hemp, and other materials.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – said it "opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview". 

Savills has been contacted.


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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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