Florence: Blindfolded Activists Protest Against Benetton Over Atrocities To Sheep

PETA Wants Retailer to Stop Using Australian Wool Until Mutilation and Live Export End

For Immediate Release:
3 February 2005

Andrew Butler (PETA) +44 (0) 20 7357 9229, ext. 230

Florence – Wearing blindfolds and carrying signs reading “Benetton: Blind to Animal Suffering”, members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA Europe Ltd.) will gather outside Benetton’s Via Calimala store in Florence to give potential customers leaflets showing horrific abuse of lambs and sheep by Australia’s wool industry. The action is part of an intense international campaign to convince the retail chain to ban garments made with Australian wool until a gruesome procedure called “mulesing” (live flaying) and live sheep exports are banned:

Date:   Friday, 4 February
Time:   12 noon-1 p.m.
Place:  Benetton, Via Calimala 4-6/R

“Mulesing” is a crude mutilation whereby Australian farmers carve flesh from lambs’ backsides with a pair of garden shears and without painkillers as a cheap way to try to reduce flystrike – which is when blowfly eggs hatch into maggots and eat away at the sheep – even though more sophisticated, humane blowfly control methods exist. When their wool is no longer economically viable, millions of sheep are shipped to the Middle East through all weather extremes aboard open-deck, multi-tiered ships. Many sick and injured sheep, treated as mere cargo, are thrown overboard or ground up alive in mincing machines. Many of those who survive the gruelling voyage are fully conscious when their throats are slit.

After repeatedly asking the Australian government to end these atrocities, PETA U.S. announced an international boycott of Australian wool in mid-October 2004 and has already won the support of prestigious retailers Abercrombie & Fitch in the US, and George and New Look in the UK.

“The ‘united colours’ of Benetton are turning to blood red,” says PETA Europe Campaign Coordinator Andrew Butler. “If Benetton wants to wipe the blood of millions of sheep off its hands, it must refuse to sell clothes made from Australian wool.”

PETA is urging consumers to boycott Benetton until it pledges to stop using Australian wool and is bombarding Benetton with ads and protests around the world to alert the public to the company’s support of cruelty. For more information, please visit UnitedCrueltyofBenetton.com.