John Lewis to Stop Buying Australian Wool From Cruelly Treated Lambs

Martin Mallon +44 (0) 20 7357 9229, ext 224; [email protected]

London – John Lewis Partnership, one of Britain’s largest retail companies, has taken a stand against “mulesing”, a common mutilation used in Australian wool production, following a long-running campaign by PETA US to phase out this practice. Despite industry promises to move away from the practice, most of Australia’s wool still comes from lambs who have undergone mulesing, a procedure in which farmers cut chunks of flesh from lambs’ backsides with gardening shears in a misguided attempt to reduce the risk of a maggot infestation called “flystrike”. After the mutilation, the distressed lambs are often unable to stand for hours, and when they are finally able to do so, they often move sideways (as crabs do) in order to avoid the pain that results from the procedure.

“We commend John Lewis Partnership for adding its voice to the worldwide effort to stop cruel lamb mutilations in Australia”, says PETA Managing Director Ingrid E Newkirk. “The company’s decision will hasten the day when Australian sheep farmers are forced to stop mutilating lambs for wool.”

The company sent PETA a letter stating, in part, “John Lewis – will require all suppliers of [m]erino wool product to satisfy us, through declarations that the wool used in their products comes from non-mulesed sources”.

Humane and effective methods of flystrike prevention – such as using better husbandry practices and breeding sheep who are less susceptible to flystrike – are already available, and many farmers have stopped mulesing and successfully implemented the alternatives. In response to pressure from retailers and PETA US, the Australian wool industry agreed to phase out mulesing by this year, but the trade group Australian Wool Innovation announced last July that the industry was abandoning that commitment.

John Lewis, which has annual sales of more than £6 billion, joins many other retailers – including Gap Inc, H&M, NEXT, Abercrombie & Fitch, Liz Claiborne, Timberland, HUGO BOSS and Perry Ellis International – that have pledged to move away from mulesed wool or have instituted an outright ban on it.

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