WOOL Parish Council has rejected an animal rights group's request to change the village's name to Vegan Wool.

Last week it was reported that PETA had asked councillors to re-name the area in order to "promote kindness to sheep".

In a letter to the parish council, PETA director Elisa Allen said sheep's wool had been "shown to be a product of extreme cruelty". Changing Wool's name to Vegan Wool would enable the village to "take a stand" and promote animal-free materials, she said.

When the letter was first made public it attracted widespread media attention, and Wool Parish Council said the matter would be considered by councillors at their next meeting in December.

However, on Monday, parish clerk Jacqui Hughes sent a letter of response stating she and chairman Keith Foggon were refusing to add the item to the agenda.

"Whilst the council respects PETA's passion for animal welfare, we have asked local opinion and there is no appetite to change the village name," the letter reads.

Mrs Hughes explained the 1000-year-old village had "never been named after the wool industry but after the Anglo Saxon word for a spring as in a well".

"Had PETA engaged with the council before using it as a means of promoting their investigation into the wool industry we could have enlightened them of that fact," the letter continues.

"We understand we have been used as a means to highlight a PETA campaign but regret that in doing so PETA has diverted the time and energy of the Parish Council without consideration of the impact on the council's resources and time having to manage the full impact of the resulting media response to this story, when the council's time should be spent on serving its local community.

"We would ask PETA to consider the implications of their actions when they next choose a local village or town as a vehicle to promote their activities and the impact it has on that community."

The letter concludes by suggesting that the 'cruelty-free' blankets PETA was offering to villagers if Wool was re-named are instead donated to local homeless shelters.

"They would be better utilised by people in need and possibly gain you some respected publicity," Mrs Hughes said.

PETA’s request was slammed by local residents, with one calling it "utterly ridiculous".

Villagers have taken to social media to defend the name of Wool and slam PETA’s suggestion.

Jayne Merchant said on social media: "It’s the most idiotic idea I have come across in a long time.”

And Jo Holloway said: “It’s not April 1st yet surely!”

In her letter to the council Ms Allen said: “Unlike wool that is stolen from sheep, vegan wool is good for animals and the environment.

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

“A recently released PETA Asia eyewitness investigation of the British wool industry revealed that shearers punched sheep in the face, stamped and stood on their heads and necks, and beat and jabbed them in the face with electric clippers.

“Fast, rough shearing left sheep with large, bloody wounds that shearers crudely stitched up using a needle and thread – and no pain relief.

“Several sheep even died during shearing from possible shock – or what one farmer called a ‘heart attack’."