The German sporting goods manufacturer Puma has agreed to ban mutilation of lambs for mulesed wool in the near future, following a campaign by Four Paws, an animal welfare organisation. The company has joined Calvin Klein and Marks & Spencer in banning this type of wool. By 2025 at the latest, the three brands will end the use of mulesing wool.
Four Paws has so far been able to convince a total of eight major fashion brands to exclusively source certified wool, the organisation said in a press release.
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pleased that Calvin Klein, Marks & Spencer and now also Puma have decided, with our support, to ban this cruel and long outdated method in the next years.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,” said Rebecca Picallo Gil, Four Paws wool campaigner.
Merino wool is used in a wide variety of garments, is not seasonal and is popular. More than 75 per cent of wool exports and as much as 90 per cent 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, the release said.
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 Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) is the most robust wool standard on the market, focused on the exclusion of mulesed wool, improved sheep welfare and full supply chain traceability.