21 June 2023 – The world's biggest sportswear brand, Nike Inc. has made a huge step to improve animal welfare and changed its CSR policy, by committing to the certified Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) in its product range.
This is a huge milestone for global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS which has been advocating against the cruel procedure of mulesing for years, and its targeted campaign directed at Nike since 2022.
Through the FOUR PAWS campaign, over 80,000 sports enthusiasts called on Nike to make the change, a decision which follows in the footsteps of Adidas and Puma which having already committed to certified wool in the past.
FOUR PAWS continues calling on textile brands to phase out this cruel and outdated practice.
After a successful campaign to #StopCruelWool, Nike publicly states it will only use certified wool sourced with Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) from now on which excludes the brutal procedure of mulesing.
This method is only practiced in Australia, the world´s biggest supplier of Merino wool. Following an orchestrated protest mail in 2022, that gained over 80,000 signatures, running athletes joined Vienna's and Hamburg's marathons for impactful offline actions that raised additional public awareness for the mutilation of lambs. As Nike Inc. turned 50 last year, FOUR PAWS projected their call to end mulesing onto their main European Logistic Campus in Belgium.
“We congratulate Nike on this important commitment which will benefit millions of lambs. With the upcoming mulesing season in Australia due to start, this news comes at a crucial time and sends a strong signal to the wool producers, being an influential brand with potential to inspire the entire apparel market. This win was only possible with the help of tens of thousands of supporters fighting together with FOUR PAWS for better animal welfare in the sports apparel market.”
Rebecca Picallo Gil, Head of the Wool campaign at FOUR PAWS
Central to ongoing efforts to end mulesing in Australia, FOUR PAWS, Humane Society International Australia and RSPCA Australia have formed a key partnership, which prioritises regular contact with major international brands such as Nike as well as numerous wool growers across Australia, in response to growing demand for non-mulesed wool. The three organisations are encouraging the wool industry to fast-track the move away from mulesing through the uptake of better genetics to produce non-mulesed wool that aligns with global brand expectations and to satisfy growing consumer demands.
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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 a report by FOUR PAWS revealed. Nike, as the world´s largest sportswear manufacturer at that time had not committed to reliably exclude mulesed wool in its product range. 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 did not respond to the public demand, until now.
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 necessary pain relief. For the lambs, this means fear and stress, but above all intense pain that can last for days. There have long been pain-free alternatives to this, such as switching to breeding sheep that are naturally flystrike resistant. There are also certification systems that enable traceability from the shop floor to the farms, in order to reliably exclude mulesing.
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. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, animals in fashion, farm animals, and wild animals – such as bears, big cats, and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones.
With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org.au