post Mulesing Controversy in the Spotlight

April 15th, 2008

Filed under: Animal Nature,Your Stories — newseditor @ 5:25 pm

This article was submitted by Di.

Aussie wool? Hugo Boss doesn’t want it
April 15, 2008 – 2:13PM

US animal rights activists are claiming another victory over the Australian wool industry after one of the world’s largest fashion houses, Hugo Boss, announced it will phase out the use of wool from farms where sheep are mulesed.

German-based Hugo Boss released a statement declaring mulesed wool “contravenes our corporate values”.

The Australian wool industry and the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have been locked in a public battle over the controversial technique of mulesing, which Australian farmers have said is essential for protecting sheep from potentially fatal flystrike.

PETA wants it banned and has successfully persuaded some of the world’s largest clothing companies to ban Australian wool if it comes from mulesed sheep.
Some of the international retailers who have pledged not to use Australian wool or wool from mulesed lambs include Abercrombie & Fitch, Timberland and H&M.
“The company has decided to phase out the use of wool from farms that perform mulesing – including clip mulesing – by redirecting its orders for merino wool toward suppliers who can demonstrate that this practice has not been applied,” Hugo Boss announced in a statement.
“Hugo Boss is therefore currently working closely with its own suppliers and providing active support to facilitate this transition.”
The fashion house said it has had “ongoing discussions” with the Australian government and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) about mulesing.
Hugo Boss referred to a 2005 agreement signed by AWI “to abolish mulesing by 2010”.

“Should mulesing not have ended completely by 2010, Hugo Boss will refuse to purchase raw wool material from farms that perform mulesing,” Hugo Boss wrote.

“We have now made the decision to concentrate our purchasing on mulesing-free raw materials because we want to set a clear example in our industry and bring new momentum to these important efforts.”

Mulesing involves farmers cutting flesh from a sheep’s rear end to prevent flystrike, or maggot infestation in the animal.

PETA applauded Hugo Boss’s move. “We commend Hugo Boss for joining the growing worldwide effort to stop mulesing mutilations,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement.

More on the Australian wool industry in the international mulesing debate.


  1. Great news di, thanks for the update. Remember as well, and the rspca agrees, mulesing is only one of the atrocities associated with australian sheep farming – as the awareness about 1080 poisoning of dogs and native wildlife reaches consumers there will be a major backlash against the criminal application of cruelty to animals and the sooner the better.

    Comment by nigel — April 16, 2008 @ 8:39 am

  2. Mulesing may be cruel, but so is death by maggot infestation!

    Comment by Rose — April 16, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

  3. Which came first, the maggot or the farmer?

    Comment by Nigel Carney — April 16, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

  4. Yahhhh, we sold our wool clip this year marked “Non Mulesed Wool”
    We have never mulesed – it comes down to husbandry – in a bad year crutching twice yearly is the only answer. Non surgical is the
    only way to go. For anyone with any doubt about mulesing –
    go watch it being done…
    Hopefully, next year it will also be marked “Organic”.
    Here’s to happy, healthy sheep bahhhhh…

    Comment by Gina — April 17, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  5. Forgot to mention – we are bait free also….

    Comment by Gina — April 17, 2008 @ 1:21 am

  6. Gold Star Community Award to Gina and family for providing a loving environment for their animals and for not poisoning the land. Par excellence…bahhhhh none!

    Comment by Nigel Carney — April 17, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

  7. We view mulesings as barbaric, and sadly, it is no guarantee it will stopping fly strike. In a bad season even mulesed sheep will
    still be struck.
    Some of the alternatives that are being tried still leave a lot to
    be desired.
    It really comes back to good husbandry [with compassion!].
    The catch cry for our flock here is S>O>S save our skin~!!!

    Comment by gina — April 19, 2008 @ 9:17 am

  8. after working as a rousabout for about 2 years and having to treat non mulsed sheep that escaped the treatment for maggot infestation, I’m for mulesing in large heards of sheep. Pets and small heards are easy to keep an eye on but if you have ever had to put down a maggot infested sheep or treated one it’s horrible. European countries don’t have the the weather that encourages fly breading. If you have ever eaten outside at Parachilna pub you know about flies and how hard it is to keep them out of your mouth imagine being a sheep and trying to keep them out of you tail and bum. Sick animals just often give up swatting and the result is awful. I think the maggot infestation is far more cruel that the mulesing. (yes I have seen the process done)

    Comment by Rebecca Kaesler — April 21, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

  9. There is some core issues here:

    1/Acts of cruelty to animals which are not accepted by a large proportion of the local and international community.

    2/The nature of an industry that trucks and ships live sheep in horrendous conditions to the far side of the world..remember that something which is ‘inhumane’ is ‘inhumane’ maggot stories come along a bit after this picture.

    3/Back to the maggots…on economic grounds alone i can produce a ream of evidence to demnonstrate australian mainstream agriculture is flawed and costing the country billions in unaccounted for costs. The jury is out on this one but the judge is found to be asleep on his feet. So yes, european countries dont have our weather so there in lays one of the simple questions…why are we persisting with this punishing form of animal husbandry when the animals (for a start) are not suited to the climate?

    In short there is NEVER a justification for being cruel to an animal.

    Comment by nigel — April 22, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  10. All comes back to husbandry – crutching does the trick and saves the skin, so does being vigilant.
    The last couple of years have been chronic for flies and very humid. Our seasons are no longer predictable, the flies are…Simple practices can be put in place: fly traps around waters, regular runs to check the sheep [a good sheep dog picks out, and brings back blown sheep, crutching on the run etc].
    There is always a gentle alternative out there if we look, what is accepted isn’t always the only way to do things.
    [Wonder what the stats are for lambs lost during mulsing?] Some sheep do get missed, but a lot of lambs/sheep this year have be killed by eagles – we are in a drought, have been for the last 6 years…. Mulsed sheep can still get blown.
    Non surgical intervention means –
    no open wounds, stronger youngstock and coupled with crutching/regular runs make for a healthy, flock minus the maggots and the delicate skin on their butts in tack
    [ever noticed the amount of very black spots on mulesed sheep butts – consider what they are – sun damage…..

    Comment by gina — April 22, 2008 @ 10:45 am

  11. I agree on the live export, that is very cruel. Jamming that many animals in a ship for 3 to six weeks where they get squashed and trampled is horrid. I also feel sorry for the large herds of sheep in the flinders the weather is far too hot for a woolly coat (especially if they get missed in the muster) and the feed is so sparse. Not to mention overgrazing. Sheep should be on a chilly hillside in fields of green. I agree about the in-efficiency of Australian farming. I cant believe the cropping at Quorn, they’re ploughing rock farms above Goyder’s line, you see them pulling a plough with plumes of dusty red soil. Then they get drought assistance for the years it fails, not very sustainable!

    Comment by Rebecca Kaesler — April 22, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  12. where did gina’s post go? i saw it this morning..she is having trouble with the internet…. – comment 10 is by gina – amt

    Comment by di — April 22, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  13. yep..I can see it now, but it disappeared for several hours…got lost in the EM storm which surged around the world yesterday…bugga, someone is really mucking about with things they don’t understand

    Comment by di — April 23, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  14. aha! here’s the source of the EM storm – yesterday’s sunspot, check it out:

    Comment by newseditor — April 23, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

  15. there have been some very good coverage and information on ABC radio lately…maybe one can read it online at ABC.

    Comment by di — June 5, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

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