I know what lanolin is, but does anyone know what the process is for getting the lanolin? Is it collected, or do the sheep have to be killed? I have never even thought of this before, but the ethics thread got me thinking about it.
No, sheep are DEFINITELY not killed for lanolin. As I understand it, it is basically sheep scalp oil - imagine if you never washed your hair and then it got cut off, well, it would need to be cleaned before somebody could use it in a wig - same idea for a sheep. Lanolin is a wool by-product - after they shear the sheep they wash it (a sheep's coat is NOT soft, despite all appearances, it is dense, tacky and a little smelly) and the lanolin is washed off (and collected, I presume!). Then, if you're Lansinoh you get really purified and put BACK on the wool in the form of a diaper cover.