London, 12 May 2023 – Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has handed over its Brand Letter of Intent to Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) Program Manager, Geoff Lindon, and Sheep Producers CEO Jo Hall, calling for an end to mulesing by 2030. With 70 per cent of the world’s Merino wool production coming from Australia and it being the only country in the world where cruel mulesing is still practiced, FOUR PAWS is demanding fast action against this cruel production of wool.
To date, the open letter has been signed by 66 international fashion brands, including UK retail giants Marks & Spencer and most recently, high street icon River Island. These brands have either already moved away from mulesed wool or have pledged to transition towards 100% certified mulesing-free wool by 2030, referring to the industry timeline in AWI’s Wool Strategy 2030.
At present, the industry’s transition away from mulesing is “too slow” to meet this aim and more must be done to encourage a firm transition away from the brutal practice.
The AWI, the industry association representing the interests of Australian wool producers, stated in their Wool 2030 Strategy, that a goal is to have wool growers increase their confidence in and knowledge of the tools to manage flystrike without mulesing. While the industry is investing in training and information sharing, further concrete action plans are lacking and mulesing is still generally accepted and continues to be part of AWI’s ‘toolbox’ as a means for growers to tackle flystrike. In addition, the goal of having 50% of Australian wool certified by 2030 does not specifically ask for an animal welfare or mulesing-free certification.
"Mulesing is illegal in the UK, yet we still continue to import and sell this cruelly produced product on our highstreets as merino wool. The British public have voiced their opposition to the practice in the thousands and opted to support the kinder alternatives available, but despite these loud signals from consumers, the wool industry still need to catch up.
Our Open Letter sends a strong signal to the Australian wool industry that, as a major player, it is time to make the transition away from mulesing and abolish the outdated and cruel procedure once and for all.”
Emily Wilson, Head of Campaigns at FOUR PAWS UK