Blindfolded Activists Kick Off International Campaign Against Benetton Over Atrocities To Sheep

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

For Immediate Release:
14 December 2004

Andrew Butler +44 (0) 20 7357 9229 ext 230
Stefano Apuzzo (Gaia animali) 348.0943270

Milan – 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 Corso Vittorio Emanuele store in Milan to show potential customers a shocking video, “Australia’s Secret Shame”, on a portable TV and hand out leaflets protesting horrific abuse of lambs and sheep by Australia’s wool industry. The action, which will coincide with a protest at the Benetton flagship store in New York, kicks off 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:   Wednesday, 15 December
Time:   12 noon – 1 p.m.
Place:  Benetton, Corso Vittorio Emanuele ii, 9

“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 and has already won the support of prestigious retailers Abercrombie & Fitch and New Look.

“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 planning to bombard Benetton with ads and protests around the world to alert the public to the company’s support of cruelty. For more information, please visit