Leading U.S. Apparel Outfit Joins PETA’S Boycott Of Australian Wool

Abercrombie & Fitch Acts on Concerns Over Australia’s Mutilation and Live Transport of Sheep – Part and Parcel of the Country’s Wool Industry

For Immediate Release:
14 October 2004

Andrew Butler 020 7357 9229, ext 230

Columbus, Ohio. – Prestigious U.S. retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has joined the international boycott of Australian sheep wool after PETA in the U.S. contacted the company about the cruelty involved in the Australian sheep wool industry. “Abercrombie & Fitch considers the proper treatment of animals to be of critical concern, and it is committed to that end. We shall not support the Australian Merino wool market until both the practice of [m]ulesing is ended and the live exporting of Australian sheep ceases,” wrote a company official in a statement to PETA.

After holding protests in Australia, the U.S. and U.K. and issuing warnings to the Australian government to curb the worst abuses of sheep raised for wool, today PETA announced an international campaign to highlight abuses of sheep in the wool industry. PETA has been urging the government to ban live sheep exports, in which thousands of sheep die each year, and to end “mulesing”, a little-known but atrociously cruel mutilation in which saucer-size portions of flesh are cut from conscious lambs’ hindquarters. Australia is the largest producer and exporter of sheep wool, accounting for 28 per cent of sheep wool worldwide.

Mulesing is the procedure whereby Australian farmers mutilate lambs – without any painkillers – by carving flesh from the animals’ upturned, trussed backsides in a crude effort to reduce flystrike, even though more sophisticated and humane control methods exist. When they are no longer viable for wool production, millions of frail wool sheep are shipped thousands of miles through all weather extremes, mired in their own waste aboard open-deck, multitiered ships, ending up in the Middle East, where their throats are slit while they are fully conscious. Many sick and injured sheep, treated as mere cargo, are thrown overboard or ground up alive in mincing machines. Last year’s Cormo Express disaster captured international headlines as more than 5,000 sheep died at sea.

“Australia’s war on sheep is an international disgrace,” says PETA campaign coordinator Andrew Butler. “Government officials have turned a blind eye to the systematic abuse of sheep used for wool. Perhaps the prospect of decreased revenues from wool exports will get their attention.” 

For more information, please visit PETA’s Web site SaveTheSheep.com.