Some good news regarding the sheep industry in the USA, and world wide. Harvest Public Media have an article on the industry’s sharp decline:
Over the last 20 years, the number of sheep in this country has been cut in half. In fact, the number has been declining since the late 1940s, when the American sheep industry hit its peak. Today, the domestic sheep herd is one-tenth the size it was during World War II.
And from Wikipedia:
Since the 1960s, per capita consumption of lamb and mutton declined from nearly 5 pounds to just about 1 pound, due to competition from poultry, pork, beef, and other meats. Since the 1990s, U.S. sheep operations declined from around 105,000 to around 80,000 due to shrinking revenues and low rates of return. According to the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, the “sheep industry accounts for less than 1 percent of U.S. livestock industry receipts.”
The public still seem to think that wool production is harmless to sheep, but recent undercover investigations from PETA and other animal rights groups, show the brutality of it all:
For some historical perspective, here is a documentary from 1954 about the different sheep breeds found around the world: