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Group Warns U.S. Government About Australia's Cruelty to Sheep and the Effect Such Abuse Has on Trade
For Immediate Release:February 10, 2010
Contact:Melissa Wilson 757-622-7382
Washington, D.C. -- PETA has responded to a call for comments on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement by calling on the U.S. trade representative involved with the talks to hold Australia to its trade promises. In Australia--one of the countries involved in the proposed agreement--the wool industry has failed to keep its commitment to American retailers to phase out a cruel lamb mutilation called "mulesing."
In 2005, the Australian wool industry, facing increasing consumer and retailer demand for nonmulesed wool, submitted a compact to the National Retail Federation promising to stop mulesing by the end of 2010. Now the industry has reneged on this agreement, and retail companies that still use mulesed wool after 2010 are subject to an international consumer boycott.
Mulesing involves flipping lambs upside down and slicing large chunks of flesh from their rumps in a misguided attempt to prevent maggot infestation, which can still occur in mulesed lambs. Other farmers use clamps to squeeze sheep's skin so tightly that the flesh rots and sloughs off. Both forms of mulesing are extremely painful, and they are also completely unnecessary because humane alternatives are available and in use by some farmers in Australia. Farmers in New Zealand stopped mulesing almost a decade ago.
"Australia must be held accountable for its trade promises," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Numerous humane mulesing alternatives are available and are already used by many farmers. It appears that sheer obstinacy is the only reason that lambs continue to be subjected to this grisly mutilation."
Many leading designers and retailers--including H&M, Perry Ellis, HUGO BOSS, Liz Claiborne, Next, Carter's, Coldwater Creek, Patagonia, Express, Limited Brands, Adidas, and most recently Gap Inc.-- have moved away from mulesed wool or have implemented an outright ban on wool from mulesed lambs. PETA's comments and its letter to the U.S. trade representative are available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
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