Sheep Tell Australian Wool Industry To ‘Flock Off’

Flock of ‘Sheep’ Converge Outside the Australian Honorary Consul in Protest of Barbaric ‘Mulesing’ Mutilations and Live Exports

For Immediate Release:
23 November 2004

Yvonne Taylor 020 7357 9229, ext. 405
Andrew Butler 020 7357 9229, ext. 230

Edinburgh – Lunchtime shoppers and visitors to the Australian Honorary Consul in Edinburgh will be greeted by an odd sight on Wednesday – a flock of “sheep”. Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA Europe Ltd) will be protesting two cruel practices of the Australian wool industry, “mulesing” – whereby lambs’ rump flesh is cut off with a pair of shears as a cheap and crude way to prevent flystrike – and the live export of sheep from Australia to the Middle East:

Date:   Wednesday, 24 November
Time:   1-2 p.m.
Place:  Australian Honorary Consul, Melrose House, 69 George Street

With the launch of PETA Europe’s international Australian Wool Campaign, “mulesing” is set to become a household word. Australian farmers mutilate lambs without any painkillers by pinning them upside-down in a metal holding rail and carving strips of flesh from their backsides in order to create scar tissue. The lambs cannot walk for days as a result, and studies show that they suffer extreme pain and depression. When their wool production declines, millions of sheep are shipped through all weather extremes on open-deck, multi-tiered ships to the Middle East, North Africa, and other countries, where their throats are slit while they are fully conscious. Sick and injured sheep, treated as mere cargo, are thrown overboard to the sharks or ground up in mincing machines on board while they are still alive.

Australia is not alone in its cruel treatment of these gentle animals. According to the Advocates for Animals report “Silent Lambs: Sheep Welfare in Scotland”, enormous problems exist within the Scottish wool industry as well. But mulesing – practiced only in Australia – and the duration and severity of Australia’s live export make the Australian wool trade (which is the largest in the world) a particular concern. Last month, US clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch set a precedent for other companies to follow by agreeing to boycott Australian Merino wool until these practices are stopped.

“Australia’s war on sheep is a disgrace”, says PETA Europe Campaign Coordinator Andrew Butler. “Kind people won’t buy wool when they learn about mulesing mutilations and live export, both of which could end today.”

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