21 May 2021 – Following talks with global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, major international brands Puma, Calvin Klein and Marks & Spencer have committed to move towards using only certified non-mulesed wool. By 2025 at the latest, these brands will end their use of mulesed wool.
“We are very pleased that Calvin Klein, Marks & Spencer and Puma have decided, with our support, to ban this cruel and long outdated method, in the next years. This is a clear signal to wool producers and a real step towards a mulesing-free future. We hope that many more brands will follow suit and spare millions of lambs from this unnecessary mutilation.”
Rebecca Picallo Gil, FOUR PAWS Wool Campaigner
Momentum of brands moving away from mulesed sheep wool is growing. In September 2020, FOUR PAWS published a list of 185 Australian and international textile brands that are opposed to the mulesing of lambs.
The list has now surpassed 200 and continues to climb, with new brands such as Puma, Calvin Klein, Marks & Spencer, joining the position of brands like David Jones, Country Road, H&M, and Kathmandu, to go one step further and commit to stepwise phase-outs of mulesed wool.
“With demand for non-mulesed wool clearly growing, it is crucial that brands, wool producers and shoppers keep up the momentum towards a mulesed-free future.”
Rebecca Picallo Gil, FOUR PAWS Wool Campaigner
Mulesing and its alternatives
Mulesing is practiced solely in Australia, as a quick and cheap way to prevent a horrific welfare condition called flystrike. When mulesed, large stripes of skin are cut off the hindquarters of weeks-old Merino lambs using sharp shears. This is done to reduce the risk of fly infestation, however, pain-free alternatives to mulesing are available.
FOUR PAWS has been consulting with major brands, in addition to wool producers to better understand the resistance to change, and to promote viable alternatives.
Over the past two years, FOUR PAWS has produced key research reports on this issue, studying the approach of Australian wool producers who have successfully transitioned away from mulesing, while also reducing their risk of flystrike. A 2020 report highlights the success experienced by wool producers in Australia using genetics to battle flystrike, instead of mulesing.
Towards a Non-Mulesed Future
New independent report highlights producers nationwide, using flystrike-resistant sheep instead of mulesing, are experiencing increased financial and animal welfare success.
Transitioning away from wool for clothing brands
A guide for fashion brands on how to transition away from mulesed wool within their supply chains. Featuring interviews with brand sustainability managers who have already committed to moving away from mulesing, including fashion powerhouses H&M, Kathmandu and Espirit.
Note: Any advertisements that may appear during the viewing of this video are unrelated to FOUR PAWS. We assume no liability for this content.
While at least 14% of Australian wool producers no longer mules their sheep, it is estimated more than 10 million lambs continue to be mulesed annually.
For its 32-year history, global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has worked to improve animal welfare within the textiles industry. As part of its global efforts, FOUR PAWS has developed the world’s first Animal Welfare in Fashion Report which assesses the extent to which Brands are addressing animal welfare risks in their supply chains, and is the official Australian representative of the global Fur Free Retailer program.
World’s first report finds fashion critically lagging on animal welfare
New research from FOUR PAWS finds the fashion industry comes up short between what is said and what is delivered, with only 21% of brands tracing even a portion of animal-derived materials for animal welfare. It also lists the essential first steps brands need to take, including ultimately the development of a comprehensive animal welfare policy.
Giving consumers the power to call on brands
Merino wool is used in a wide variety of garments, is not seasonal and is popular. More than 75 percent of wool exports and as much as 90 percent of the fine merino wool used in the global fashion industry comes from Australia - the only country in the world where mulesing is still practiced.
Over 222,000 voices have now signed up to encourage brands to take responsibility for the animals within their supply chains. Consumers are also encouraged to shop alternatives from wool or to check the list of 185 Australian and international textile brands that are opposed to the mulesing of lambs.
FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them.
Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. FOUR PAWS’ sustainable campaigns and projects focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, orangutans and elephants – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in 12 countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au