As Nike Turns 50, 50K Customers Urge the Company to Stop Using Cruel Wool
With strong public support, FOUR PAWS urges market leader to switch to certified wool to help prevent cruelty to lambs
June 8, 2022 - FOUR PAWS, the global animal welfare organization, has recently launched a campaign to end the mutilation of merino lambs, by asking Nike, the biggest sportswear manufacturer, to exclude the cruel and painful practice of mulesing from their supply chain. In just four weeks the campaign has received over 50,000 signatures, yet Nike keeps ignoring the calls for change. Even after new footage showing a brutal procedure called mulesing caused international public outrage, Nike continues to ignore the demand.
FOUR PAWS, in return, organized an action at Nike’s main European Logistic Campus in Laakdal, Belgium, which is the biggest distribution hub in Europe. During the night, the animal welfare activists projected their demands onto the façade of the facility.
“Nike is recognized around the world for being a leader in sportswear, but unfortunately, not in animal welfare. While many brands have already made public commitments to exclude the cruel and outdated method from their supply chain, Nike still continues to use such outdated practices. Globally over 300 brands have already published anti-mulesing policies and yet Nike still fails to act and do the right thing."
-Rebecca Picallo Gil, Head of the wool campaign at FOUR PAWS, stated.
“Even more than that, Nike keeps ignoring, not only FOUR PAWS, but also over 50,000 sport enthusiasts and Nike fans around the world who are in support of our campaign and think that the brand can do better than this. Now it is time for Nike to act and to show kindness to the millions of sheep that have to suffer from mulesing.”
Merino wool is used in sports apparel for its beneficial characteristics, such as breathability and odorless qualities, by all of the biggest sports brands globally as the latest report by FOUR PAWS revealed. Nike, the world’s largest sportswear manufacturer, has not committed to phase out the use of mulesed wool in its product range, nor have they agreed on robust traceability and transparency certifications to achieve that goal. While many other brands – such as Nike’s biggest competitors, Adidas and Puma – already made public commitments to exclude the cruel and outdated method, Nike just does not respond to the public demand.
FOUR PAWS has been campaigning for an end to the cruel mulesing procedure for many years. Mulesing involves cutting off large chunks of skin from two to ten-week-old lambs with sharp shears without the necessary pain relief. For the lambs, this means fear and stress, but above all, great pain that can last for days. There have long been alternatives to this, such as switching to sheep breeds that are less susceptible to parasites. There are also certifications that trace wool back to the farms to exclude cruel and outdated methods such as mulesing.
Globally over 300 brands have already published anti-mulesing policies, and in 2021 over 30 brands signed an open letter to the Australian wool industry to demand an end to the mutilation of lambs. Australia is the only country in the world where the method of mulesing is still practiced. The country is also the number one producer of merino wool. When earlier this year, FOUR PAWS released a report on the use of mulesed sheep wool in the athletic wear industry that is sourced from Australia, it became clear that Nike needs to change. FOUR PAWS, among others, is asking Nike to #StopCruelWool. To sign the petition, please visit, https://help.four-paws.org/en-US/nike-just-dont-do-it