Retailers Baaaand Together to Help Sheep
Yesterday, PETA sent a letter to the Australian wool industry on behalf of numerous major clothing retailers—including Gap, Liz Claiborne, Nordstrom, Haggar Clothing, Coppley Apparel, Austin Reed, Carter’s, C&A Europe, Bestseller A/S, and Matalan Retail Limited—encouraging the addition of a “clip mulesing” tick box to the industry’s new nonmulesed-certification form.
In addition, Nike, Lindex, Marks & Spencer, and H&M sent their own letters urging the industry to add clip mulesing to the certification.
So, what is this tick box, and why is it important? Well, the wool industry has made a certification form to allow retailers to purchase wool from lambs who haven’t undergone the mulesing mutilation. (Yay!) But under the current certification, if a retailer also doesn’t want wool from lambs who have undergone clip mulesing—where their skin is painfully killed using tight clamps—they can’t get it. (Boo!)
So PETA flexed a little muscle and got 15 major clothing retailers, whose sales total more than AUD $100 billion (yes, that’s “billion” with a “B”), to send a strong message to the wool industry that they oppose clip mulesing and want to avoid mulesing of any kind in their supply chains.
Of these companies, one—Nordstrom—stands out. Nordstrom was ready to pilot the certification program for all its own-label 2009 men’s merino wool sweaters. After figuring out that the industry couldn’t guarantee that no clip mulesing was used for the sweaters, Nordstrom backed out of the program. But then it went even one step further and decided to source all that wool from outside Australia instead!
Kudos to Nordstrom and these 14 other retailers for helping send the strong message that clip mulesing is not acceptable and that real alternatives to mulesing must be put in place.
The world is watching, Australia ….
Written by Matt Prescott, PETA Corporate Affairs