German sportswear brand Puma has said that it will refrain from using uncertified wool of animal cruelty origin, following a campaign by animal welfare organisation Four Paws to ban mulesing of lambs.
Puma joins Calvin Klein and Marks and Spencer who have agreed to ban mutilation of lambs in their supply chains, with Four Paws calling on its competitors Nike and Adidas to follow and ban this cruel practice from their wool products.
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, explains Four Paws.
Rebecca Picallo Gil, Four Paws wool campaigner, said in a statement: “We are very pleased that Calvin Klein, Marks and Spencer and now also Puma have decided, with our support, to ban this cruel and long-outdated method in the next years.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.”
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 practised, added Four Paws. However, there are alternatives to mulesing, such as switching to sheep breeds that are less susceptible to flystrike.
Some certificates verify the exclusion of this cruel practice, with the RWS being 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 can’t 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,” added Four Paws.