In a yarn for the ages, British animal rights activists have asked a Dorset village to change its name to Vegan Wool in order to "promote kindness to sheep".

The Telegraph reported yesterday the village of Wool, population 5310, had landed in the sights of animal rights charity PETA.

The village, 200km southwest of London, received a polite letter from PETA director Elisa Allen asking, via the Wool Parish Council, to change the name to Vegan Wool, offering "cruelty-free" woollen blankets to all 2000 village households if they agree.

The request was to "promote kindness to sheep", but seemingly doesn't take into account the village's name comes from the ancient word "welle", meaning well, or water spring.

Advertisement

Dorset County Council member Cherry Brooks told the Telegraph the "ridiculous" request had caused a stir in the village.

"A few people are quite offended but most people seem to find it amusing. The proposal will now need to be discussed at the next council meeting, which will be interesting."

Others were less generous - villager Jayne Merchant wrote on social media it was "the most idiotic idea I have come across in a long time".

But it was clear PETA understood what they were doing - Allen described the request as a "creative and fun" way to educate the public, the Telegraph reported.

Re-naming the village would help highlight the abundance of "warm, cruelty-free fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, hemp, and soya-bean fibre", she said.

"Sheep's wool, on the other hand, has been shown to be a product of extreme cruelty."

There are no towns named Wool in New Zealand.

But Rangitikei District Mayor Andy Watson, whose district includes the town of Bulls, said a similar request in that town would be quickly dismissed.

There would be no Vegan Bulls on his watch.

"I regard [veganism] as a fringe element - if they want to be vegan, fine, that's their right. But it's not a majority view, and our district is driven on the back of primary produce."