17 May 2021 – The German sporting goods giant Puma agrees to ban mutilation of lambs in the near future. Alongside the brands Calvin Klein and Marks & Spencer, it is the latest and third success in a row for the global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS in the fight against mulesing of lambs. With this, the professional football outfitter overhauls its competitors Nike and Adidas, both of which have yet to commit to ban this cruel practice from their wool products. FOUR PAWS has so far been able to convince a total of eight major fashion brands to exclusively source certified wool. By 2025 at the latest, these brands will end the use of so-called mulesing wool. When mulesed, large stripes of skin are cut off the hindquarters of weeks-old Merino lambs using sharp shears and usually without anaesthesia. This is done to reduce the risk of fly infestation, however, pain-free alternatives to mulesing are available.
"We are very pleased that Calvin Klein, Marks & Spencer and now also Puma have decided, with our support, to ban this cruel and long outdated method in the next years. This is a clear demand 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."
Says Rebecca Picallo Gil, FOUR PAWS Wool Campaigner.
A certificate for animal welfare
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. There are alternatives to mulesing, such as switching to sheep breeds that are less susceptible to flystrike. There are also certificates that verify the exclusion of this cruel practice. The RWS is the most robust wool standard on the market today, focused on the exclusion of mulesed wool, improved sheep welfare and full supply chain traceability. Without standards like the RWS, fashion brands cannot be sure of the conditions the sheep whose wool they source live under and whether mulesing-free wool has been mixed with mulesing wool along the supply chain.