Monday, 24 March 2008

You may have already heard the wonderful news that international clothing giant H&M recently pledged to stop buying wool from lambs who have been mulesed.

H&M's compassionate decision was the catalyst for a huge show of support for sheep from 17 other major Swedish retailers who also pledged to boycott this cruel mutilation. In addition, 10 Danish retailers have withdrawn their support for the practice. Thirty-one European retailers have declared that they will consider or have already stopped using wool from mulesed lambs. And in the wool industry's own back yard, the Western Australian Department of Agriculture has announced that it will stop the mulesing mutilation.

Australian sheep need your help today to put the final nail in the coffin of cruel mulesing mutilations.
Please send a message to Australia's new prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to remind him that retailers and consumers around the world won't stand by while Australian sheep are subjected to such an inhumane procedure, and ask him to ban cruel mulesing mutilations immediately. Even if you have taken action in behalf of sheep in the past, it's important that we send a strong message to Rudd early on in his term that this cruelty must come to an end.

To learn more about how you can help animals who suffer in the wool industry, please visit


Farmer Savealamb said...

As an Australian farmer I can only recommend you have a look at this site:

This issue is a very complex one and one that is not solved by boycotts.
Despite being describes as less than sensitive there are some other point you and other consumers need to consider.
The web site is a little rusty as it is the first time I have done one and only started this morning.

One of the things that is interesting is when you take a suit from Zegna or Ralph Lauren or other top designers, or some of the best knitwear.

A suit might cost a customer $1500 for a magnificent Aust Merino fibre suit, better than anything else in the world.

Yet the farmer will be lucky to get $15 for the amount of wool that will go into the suit.

So it is one thing to criticise farmers for doing what they think is best for the welfare of their animals to prevent them being eaten alive by maggots, but the consumer needs to know they have to be part of the a process that makes sure farmers are rewarded for their work, care and environmental stewardship in trying to clothe and feed the world.

It is a very complex debate.

The income of people doing it tough on the farm is at risk by people trying to say the wrong story. As I mentioned in the web page, no one likes having to mules their sheep.

Australian farmers on average work over 70hrs a week, which includes some of the most backbreaking hard work imaginable.

They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars feeding livestock they have spent many years breeding, to keep them alive in drought.

They receive little income after their ever spiralling costs are taken to account.

They then are pilloried by media and animal rights groups from around the world who are hell bent on taking away their customers so they will be financially and emotionally destroyed.

Once the farmers are gone, who will look after the most exciting source for sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, the soil?

Once the farmers are gone, who will look after the animals left to go wild and feral?

Once the farmers are gone, who will provide the food for the third world countries who cannot feed themselves?

It won’t be the animal rights extremists.

So when someone buys a $1500 suit and remembers that the farmer on the other side of the world is getting $15 for his contribution, it doesn’t seem much to think they might Save a Lamb by spending $50 so they will be able to buy another suit next year….and a farmer might still be alive and in business.

With the drought in Australia that has been so devastating over the past 7 years, there is one farmer killing themselves every three days.

They cannot cope with the stress that is being placed on them financially and emotionally. They aren’t coping with the lack of support and certainty they are able to provide their families.

They can not cope with the stress their relationships are under because of the amount of money and energy they spend looking after their animals to keep them alive and in many cases cant deal with the emotional and financial needs of their family.

One Australian Farmer commits suicide every three days!

Rates of severe clinical depression are highest in Australian farmers than any other group in Australia.

Australian farmers have to deal with this and worry how they are going to keep going and keep their families together.

And at the same time they are attacked from people from all over the world who like to go to work looking smart in their suits, who would have no idea that it was made from merino wool, have never been to a sheep farm and probably don’t know where milk, bread or steak come from, but will make a judgement about what a specialist, caring environmentalist wool grower is doing on the other side of the world.

I am really sorry to download on you about this.

I have had too many friends suffer from depression, too many stories of suicide, too many stories of people being evicted from their farms by banks because the global supply chain rapes them, then makes them out to be the perpetrators of a crime.

This is a very complex issue and a boycott will not solve it.

How do we so easily overlook the suffering of people in an attempt to make ourselves feel good by thinking we are doing something for animals.

Lisa said...

I agree this is a very complex debate and want to assure you that at Harlands Organic Furnishings we wish to support both the animals AND humans involved in the supply of wool textiles.

We support UK farmers for the very reasons you mentioned in your comment as the industry has suffered over here too, and believe that it is only through consumers making the right choices when they buy that things will improve for the animals and farmers involved. Farmers deserve to be paid fairly and animals deserve to be treated with care.

We really do sympathise with the issues, I too have many friends involved in farming over here and believe that the general public need to be educated about how the purchases they make have an impact upon the people involved in the chain of supply. If people understood the value of what farmers do then animals wouldn't have been devalued so much and intensive farming would not need to be a choice for farmers to survive. Consumers should take more responsibility for their choices.

Mulesing is not the only issue for the animals that are intensively farmed in Australia. Where they are transported to afterwards is also an issue and one that cannot be ignored.

We support the sharing of information to encourage those people who do not think beyond how good they look in their new suit or know where their food comes from to take time to think about what they are buying because that is the only way that things will change given time.

I'm sorry that you feel that we may be taking an ethical stance on animal welfare to enable ourselves to feel good about ourselves but hope that you will read more about us on our website, the 'about us' page as this is something we take very seriously, you will see that we also consider the needs of the farmers we work with to be equally important.

Best wishes,
Lisa Harland

Anonymous said...

Thanks for discussing Mulesing and helping stopping this awful activity.

Lisa said...

Excerpt from research report on mulesing:

'There are more humane, effective, and cost-efficient alternatives to mulesing available, as has been discovered not only by Australian farmers who do not employ the procedure—a group that is estimated to include as much as 40 percent of producers (Beck et al. 1985 in Counsell 2001)—but also by all sheep farmers in the U.K. (the world’s fifth-largest supplier of greasy wool), where mulesing is generally prohibited in favour of alternative flystrike-prevention methods. Moreover, unlike mulesing, which only addresses breech strikes, most of the alternatives help prevent all forms of flystrike, including strikes on the breech, body, and face.'

'Year after year, millions of sheep suffer hideously during mulesing and live export in the Australian wool industry. The pain and death that these practices have been irrefutably shown to cause prove that no degree of standards or “improvements” can ensure the welfare of animals who are subjected to them and that the only compassionate solution is a categorical ban on both.'

This report was completed on March 24, 2004.

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