World’S Fifth-Largest Retailer Announces Phase-Out O Wool From Mulesed Australian Sheep

For Immediate Release:
28 June 2012

Ben Williamson +44 (0)20 7357 9229, ext 229; [email protected]

London – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has received confirmation that Japan-based UNIQLO – part of Fast Retailing, the world’s fifth-largest apparel retailer – will immediately begin phasing out the purchase of merino wool from Australian suppliers who mutilate lambs in a barbaric procedure called “mulesing”. The decision follows the recent launch of an international campaign by PETA and its affiliates against UNIQLO for moving too slowly in sourcing wool only from non-mulesed sheep. UNIQLO Group Senior Vice President Yukihiro Nitta wrote in a letter to PETA Australia: “We are aware of concerns raised over the practice of mulesing sheep, and because of our commitment to animal welfare and health, we have directed our merino wool suppliers to phase out sourcing wool from farms that practice mulesing”.

In a crude attempt to prevent flystrike – a type of maggot infestation – Australian farmers cut large chunks of skin and flesh from lambs’ backsides with instruments resembling gardening shears, often without any painkillers. Virtually all farmers in New Zealand – and even many in Australia – have abandoned mulesing, which results in bloody, painful wounds that take weeks to heal. Farmers are using a variety of options, including bare-breeched and plain-bodied sheep.

“UNIQLO has made the smart business decision to listen to its customers and stop supporting the barbaric mutilation of Australian sheep”, says PETA Manager Mimi Bekhechi. “The worldwide revolt against wool from mulesed sheep is in full swing, and the Australian wool industry would be wise to sit up and take notice.”

UNIQLO follows in the footsteps of nearly 50 other major international companies – including Topshop, H&M, Next, C&A, Abercrombie & Fitch, Timberland, Australia’s Country Road and Korean retail giant Kukdong Corporation – that pledged and completed their phase-out of wool from mulesed sheep and have implemented outright bans on it.