What is Mulesing?
- Mulesing is one of the most concerning mutilation practices that exists for sheep.
- The practice predominantly takes place in Australia, where around 90% of the world’s fine apparel wool comes from.
- Over ten million Merino-wool producing lambs are mulesed each year, usually without adequate pain-relief.
- Mulesing was developed as a cheap solution to outbreaks of sheep flystrike throughout Australia - an infection caused by blowflies laying their eggs on sheep, preferring areas with skin wrinkles, which can collect faeces and urine in the hind of sheep.
- After hatching, the maggots bury themselves into the skin and flesh causing an infestation and wounds that, if left untreated, can lead to debilitating pain and even death.
- Find out more about the practice of mulesing here.
Why Is Mulesing Cruel?
The mulesing process involves a lamb, generally between two to twelve weeks old, being restrained on their back in a metal cradle, while strips of skin around the buttocks are cut away by sharp shears. Once the wound heals, the scar tissue left behind leaves the area free of wrinkles and wool, resulting in that highly susceptible area of the sheep considered ‘flystrike resistant’.
This process causes intense pain and suffering for lambs and is an ineffective method to avoid flystrike as the animals can still be struck on other parts of their bodies. There are pain-free alternatives to mulesing, such as breeding sheep who are naturally wrinkle-free, which mean they are far less likely to get flystrike and, alongside adequate animal husbandry, the painful mulesing process is rendered unnecessary.
We Need More Compassion in Fashion!
Mulesing is not practiced in the UK, but because Australia produces such a huge percentage of the world’s apparel wool, we are still importing this cruel product.
Several UK brands have already banned mulesed wool, including John Lewis, H&M, New Look, Next, and Topshop - but there are still hundreds more that continue to sell it.
As part of Wear it Kind we are working to protect the millions of animals used in the textile industry, who's suffering often goes unnoticed. Working to ban cruel and unnecessary mutilation practices like mulesing is a really important step forward for farmed animals.
You can take action by signing the petition to urge brands to step up and show that they will not support such shocking examples of animal cruelty in the name of fashion – and commit to end the sale of mulesed wool.