185 fashion brands come out against mulesing

Brands take stance against mulesing

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A whopping 185 fashion brands, including those pictured above, have come out against the practice of mulesing.

A whopping 185 fashion brands, including those pictured above, have come out against the practice of mulesing.

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A list of over 180 Australian and international clothing brands who have come out in opposition of mulesing has been released to the public.

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A list of over 180 Australian and international clothing brands who have come out in opposition of mulesing has been released to the public.

The list - put together by animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS - includes the names of 185 fashion brands, including Patagonia, H&M, Country Road Group, Kmart Group and Hugo Boss.

As part of their inclusion on the list, the brands have made a commitment to phase out wool used in their products from mulesed sheep.

Of the 185 brands, 121 have stated that they do not currently accept wool from mulesed sheep or wool from Australia, and 68 have stated their use of robust certification systems, making commitments to help achieve more traceable supply chains.

Outdoor brands like Kathmandu, Ortovox and Patagonia are among the brands that are already non-mulesed certified.

Kathmandu head of product innovation and sustainability Manu Rastogi said the company took the stance that mulesing was inhumane.

"We expect our suppliers to treat all animals in the supply chain humanely and with respect," Mr Rastogi said.

"We see non-mulesed wool as a means to recognise and reward farmers for doing the right thing."

Retailers like H&M and Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as fashion brands such as Witchery and Politix, are among those committed to become non-mulesed certified in the next few years.

H&M Group animal welfare, material ethics and biodiversity business expert Jennie Granstrom said the company was already only buying wool from suppliers that could guarantee wool came from non-mulesed sheep.

"H&M Group aims to ensure that by 2022 all our wool is either certified by Responsible Wool Standard or comes from recycled sources," Ms Granstrom said.

Meanwhile, Humane Society International (HSI) has launched its Better Wool Guide, which it hopes will help consumers understand where their wool comes from.

The guide lists the brands and retailers with policies against mulesing, or commitments to phase it out.

HSI animal welfare program manager Georgie Dolphin said they wanted to celebrate the brands and consumers that were driving demand for non-mulesed wool.

"Thanks to animal welfare conscious consumers and brands who are driving progress, mulesing will fast lose its social licence and become a practice of the past," Ms Dolphin said.

"We commend brands in the Better Wool Guide for aligning their animal welfare policies with consumer sentiment and the production of more welfare-friendly, better wool."

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WoolProducers Australia chief executive Jo Hall described the campaign against mulesing as "narrow in scope".

Ms Hall said the mulesing debate was far more complex than animal welfare groups had considered.

"Mulesing is a once-in-a-life procedure that offers lifetime protection against flystrike, which is the real animal welfare issue here," she said.

"When mulesing is done in conjunction with pain relief, it is one of the single-best animal husbandry procedures a sheep can receive over the course of its life."

But she said it was also an opportunity for wool growers to assess and understand what the market was expecting.

"We are already hearing from exporters that mulesing is a significant issue for our customers," she said.

"This is why it's really important for wool growers to know what's happening in the marketplace.

"But what is not well communicated through the supply chain to customers is that our farmers look after their sheep every single day, because healthy, well cared for animals are profitable animals."

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