Sydney/Vienna, 10 May 2023 – Yesterday at the Animal Welfare Forum hosted by the Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) in Sydney, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS handed over its Brand Letter of Intent to AWI Program Manager, Geoff Lindon, and Sheep Producers CEO Jo Hall, calling for an end to mulesing by 2030.
FOUR PAWS calls the industry’s transition away from mulesing “too slow” and for more to be done to encourage a transition away from mulesing. To date, the open letter has been signed by 66 international fashion brands, including Hugo Boss, H&M, Esprit, Patagonia and Adidas. The undersigned brands have either already moved away from mulesed wool or pledged to transition towards 100% certified mulesing-free wool by 2030 referring to the industry timeline in AWI’s Wool Strategy 2030.
The AWI, the industry association representing the interests of Australian wool producers, has stated in their Wool 2030 Strategy, that a goal is to have wool growers increase their confidence in and knowledge of the tools to manage flystrike without mulesing. While the industry is investing in training and information sharing, further concrete action plans are still missing and mulesing is still generally accepted. Mulesing also continues to be part of AWI’s toolbox shared to growers to tackle flystrike. In addition, the goal of having 50% of Australian wool certified by 2030 does not specifically ask for an animal welfare or mulesing-free certification.
“With over 60 major international fashion companies and an ever-growing number of consumers publicly stating their opposition to mulesing, it’s clear the practice needs to end fast. Despite these loud signals and widely accessible alternatives, namely the breeding of flystrike resistant sheep, the efforts undertaken by the wool industry need to increase.
The Open Letter is intended to send a strong signal to the Australian wool industry that it is time to make the transition away from mulesing and abolish the outdated and cruel procedure once and for all.”
Rebecca Picallo Gil, FOUR PAWS mulesing campaigner
The biggest wool producer for the fashion industry: Australia
70 per cent of the world’s Merino wool production comes from Australia - the only country in the world where mulesing is still practiced. Mulesing entails large strips of skin sliced away from the hindquarters of lambs a few weeks old, causing great pain and usually without anesthesia - this is used as a quick and cheap way to prevent infestation by blowflies, but again there are alternative methods available. Alternative options include breeding sheep that are more resistant to parasites than Merino sheep.