Many of us may think that wool is only present in our knitwear. But we’d be wrong, sportswear and cloth nappies are just two of the other items using it, showing that this versatile textile can and is used all year round. But at what expense? Sadly many of these items used mulesed wool which, as we talk about here, involves unprecedented pain for 6-12-week-old lambs as skin is cut away from their backsides. This process caused lambs excoriating pain, fear and stress and shockingly this legal practice is carried out without any pain relief for the animal. However, the picture is looking brighter as a brand new ranking shows how well brands like John Lewis, Superdry, M&S, Burberry and Next are doing to exclude mulesed wool.
38 brands were reviewed and judged to be either:
Mulesing-free Champion: Brand is fully certified mulesing-free and can verify this via strong traceability
Gold: Brand made a commitment and started with its implementation to fully phase out mulesed wool based on strong traceability (e.g.: 100% RWS or equivalent by 2025)
Silver: Brand made a commitment to fully phase out mulesed wool and verifies this via strong traceability but has not yet started (e.g.: 100% RWS or equivalent by 2025)
Bronze: Brand is positioned against mulesing in publicly available source
"Black Sheep": Do not communicate any position against mulesing in publicly available sources
As one of the UK’s largest retailers the move by John Lewis to no longer stock any products made with wool from mulesed lambs it shows how the tide is turning in favour of abolishing this cruel practice. Elsewhere on the UK high-street brands such as Mango, Zara and H&M also ranked well with the latter even making a commitment to only use certified wool by 2025. But this is only the tip of the iceberg as many brands have not been as forward thinking and the inaction continues to support this cruel practice. With over 75% of wool exports and as much as 90% of the popular fine merino wool used for the global fashion industry coming from Australia - the only country in the world where the method of mulesing is still practised.
The good news is: ending mulesing is possible. It is up to YOU to end mulesing once and for all. We need to demand certified non-mulesed wool or wool with a butt – as we like to call it. With every purchase decision we make, we affect how lambs are being treated – let's support mulesing-free brands and change the lives of millions of lambs!
See how your favourite brands rank here.