14 December 2021 - HUGO BOSS has sent a clear message against animal cruelty by becoming verified mulesing-free by 2025. Global animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS, which has been campaigning against the cruel procedure for several years, welcomes this latest success in its Brand Check. The German fashion company announced that it will exclusively source mulesing-free wool for its pure wool suits from 2025. In addition, the use of mulesing-free wool for the entire product range is to be promoted by 2030.
A total of 35 international fashion brands, including sports giant Adidas and Calvin Klein, and now, most recently HUGO BOSS, have expressed their intention to purchase only certified mulesing-free wool in an open letter addressed to the Australian wool industry led on by FOUR PAWS. The goal of the animal rights activists is to mobilise enough brands to publicly speak out against animal suffering in production and to implement necessary measures to encourage the largely Australian-based sheep wool industry to end the cruel procedure.
"Hugo Boss has been one of our most vocal and active supporters of mulesing-free wool for a number of years, and now they will put their words into practice. Together we have also been able to improve the brand's animal welfare policies overall. The basis for discussion has always been respectful, constructive and most importantly collaborative."
Rebecca Picallo Gil, Campaign Manager for Wool at FOUR PAWS
Customer expectations on the rise in the pandemic
A recent study by FOUR PAWS shows that animal suffering is also increasingly causing discontent among clothing customers. Since COVID-19, almost one third (31%) of the 14,000 respondents in twelve countries worldwide either consciously look for clothing with animal welfare standards or avoid animal textiles altogether. Brands that follow this trend are also preferred by one in three (37%).
"This strong signal should encourage as many brands as possible from different fashion sectors to take the same step. We could already see that outdoor brands in particular are opposing mulesing wool, while luxury fashion manufacturers showed rather little interest. With Hugo Boss, we have gained another ally in the premium segment for the animals. We are calling on more brands to reliably exclude mulesing wool in order to spare more than ten million lambs in Australia from this cruel and outdated procedure in the future," says Picallo Gil.
Over 75 per cent of wool exports and as much as 90 per cent of the popular fine merino wool used in the global fashion industry come from Australia - the only country in the world where mulesing is still practiced. Mulesing is a painful method carried out on lambs a few weeks old, in which large strips of skin are cut out of the animals' buttocks without anaesthesia to protect them from blowfly infestation. But there have long been alternatives. For example, sheep breeds that are more resistant to parasites than the overbred Merino sheep. Strong support from the sheep wool industry is needed to enable brands that do not want to do without merino wool to obtain sufficient mulesing-free wool. Hence the open letter from brands to the industry. Consumers can also take action by explicitly asking brands and orienting themselves towards reliable certifications when buying clothes.
In the course of the FOUR PAWS Brand Check, eight brands have already been motivated to use mulesing-free wool. In addition to fashion giants such as Calvin Klein, Puma and C&A, HUGO BOSS is now the ninth international brand to implement reliable measures to phase out mulesing wool.
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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. www.four-paws.org