14 December 2021 - HUGO BOSS has sent a clear message against animal cruelty by becoming verified mulesing-free by 2025. Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, which has been campaigning against the cruel procedure for several years, welcomes this latest success in its Brand Check. The German fashion company announced that it will exclusively source mulesing-free wool for its pure wool suits from 2025. In addition, the use of mulesing-free wool for the entire product range is to be promoted by 2030.
A total of 35 international fashion brands, including sports giant Adidas and Calvin Klein, and now, most recently HUGO BOSS, have expressed their intention to purchase only certified mulesing-free wool in an open letter addressed to the Australian wool industry led on by FOUR PAWS. The goal of the animal rights activists is to mobilise enough brands to publicly speak out against animal suffering in production and to implement necessary measures to encourage the largely Australian-based sheep wool industry to end the cruel procedure.
"Hugo Boss has been one of our most vocal and active supporters of mulesing-free wool for a number of years, and now they will put their words into practice. Together we have also been able to improve the brand's animal welfare policies overall."
Emily Wilson, FOUR PAWS UK Head of Campaigns.
Customer expectations on the rise in the pandemic
A recent study by FOUR PAWS shows that animal suffering is also increasingly causing discontent among clothing customers. One in three consumers now seek animal-friendly credentials when deciding what or where to buy, compared to pre-COVID-19. But even with the rapidly growing demand from consumers for more animal friendly fashion, less than a third (32%) of British brands use certified wool and down, 68% use one or more animal derived materials and just 11% have committed to reducing their use of such materials.
"Consumers are increasingly using their wallets to show their disdain for animal-derived textiles. Now we are encouraging as many brands as possible from different fashion sectors to follow the lead of luxury brands like Hugo Boss in phasing out mulesed wool. Our research has highlighted that outdoor brands in particular are opposing mulesing wool, but luxury fashion manufacturers are lagging behind. However, with Hugo Boss, we have gained another ally in the fight for more compassion in fashion. But we don’t want them to be the anomaly instead FOUR PAWS is calling on more brands to exclude mulesed wool in order to spare more than ten million lambs in Australia from this cruel and outdated procedure.” says Wilson.
Over 75 per cent of wool exports and as much as 90 per cent of the popular fine merino wool used in the global fashion industry come from Australia - the only country in the world where mulesing is still practiced. Mulesing is a painful method carried out on lambs a few weeks old, in which large strips of skin are cut out of the animals' buttocks without anaesthesia to protect them from blowfly infestation. But there have long been alternatives. For example, sheep breeds that are more resistant to parasites than the overbred Merino sheep. Strong support from the sheep wool industry is needed to enable brands that do not want to do without merino wool to obtain sufficient mulesing-free wool. Hence the open letter from brands to the industry. Consumers can also take action by explicitly asking brands and orienting themselves towards reliable certifications when buying clothes.
In the course of the FOUR PAWS Brand Check, eight brands have already been motivated to use mulesing-free wool. In addition to fashion giants such as Calvin Klein, Puma and C&A, HUGO BOSS is now the ninth international brand to implement reliable measures to phase out mulesing wool.