Sportswear giant Puma has committed to stop using wool from animal cruelty or uncertified origins by the year 2025. The Germany-based brand joins brands like Calvin Klein and Marks and Spencer, who have made similar commitments to refrain from using uncertified wool.
The move comes after animal welfare organisation Four Paws’ campaign to ban mulesing of lambs. The practise of mulesing involves chunks of skin being sliced off of lambs, more often than not without anaesthesia or pain relief after. While this is done to avoid fly infestation of sheep or flystrike, it does not completely eliminate the risk of the same. On the contrary, the conditions that lambs are left in after the procedure, often with open wounds, leave the animals in more health risks like infection and lack of mobility.
While the practise of mulesing is currently carried out commonly only in Australia, it’s from this country that about 75 percent of all the world’s apparel wool comes from. About 3,000 Australian wool producers have already stopped the practice, but they are responsible for making only about 10 percent of Australia’s total output.
Although mulesing is commonly practised, there are cruelty-free alternatives to prevent infestation and infection among sheep, the most effective being using breeds that are less susceptible to flystrike. Currently, the most common breed used for wool is Merino, which yields more wool owing to its wrinkly skin.
Talking about recent moves by brands like Puma that avoid the use of mulesed wool, Four Paws’ wool campaigner Rebecca Picallo Gil said in a statement, “We are very pleased that Calvin Klein, Marks and Spencer and now also Puma have decided, with our support, to ban this cruel and long-outdated method in the next years. This is a clear demand signal to wool producers and a real step towards a mulesing-free future. We hope that many more brands will follow suit and spare millions of lambs from this unnecessary mutilation.”
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