Mulling Over Mulesing

We at JUICE really like animals, and we especially like sheep. We always thought sheep had it easy, livin’ the life, just hanging out at nice, green hills all day, grazing grass. In actual fact, in Australia sheep have to go through a terrible and cruel procedure called ‘mulesing’. So cruel is this practice that British highstreet stores like Marks & Spencers and Next have decided to boycott Australian wool.

Australian farmers argue that mulesing is neccessary or else sheep could die a slow and painful death. Sheeps are suceptible to blowflies that are attracted to faeces and urine around the buttocks, and sometimes the larvae thrives in the skin folds and the flesh of these poor sheep. The way mulesing works is that they slice off the skin around the buttocks in a crescent shape from each side of the buttocks when they are young, often without any anesthesia with non-sterilised instruments.

Australian wool producers were due to ive up tye practise by 2010 following an earlier row led by PETA six years ago however have recinded owing to the fact that a viable (read economically acceptable) alternative hasn’t been found. Because it takes 4 weeks for the wound to heal, animal rights activists are claiming that the practise causes much distress and pain to the animal and have asked that alternatives be sought out: among those being explored are genetically bred sheep without wrinkles and better animal husbandry.

Jolly olf Marks and Sparks has stressed that their 2010 deadline is non-negotiable, worrying that their clientele will find the practice intolerable to stomach leading to a “lack of consumer confidence” in their products and have thus pledged to use only non-mulesed wool after 2010. Other companies that have voiced their concerns include H&M, Hugo Boss, Nike, Gap and Liz Claiborne. Non-mulesed wood is available from countries like South Africa, New Zealanda and South America. So next time you’re buying your knits or wool suits take a closer look at the label and remember to buy ethically.

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Source: The Guardian UK