While wool feels soft and comfortable in our hands, the reality behind it is not always so. Since the dawn of time, we have always removed the fleece from sheep in order to keep ourselves warm. The problem is not the shearing, which does not hurt the animal and even allows them to avoid carrying too heavy a burden on their shoulders. However, there are some practices that call into question the production of wool, such as mulesing, which is considered a barbaric act.
What is mulesing?
Mulesing is a breeding technique mainly adopted in Australia, the world’s largest producer of Merino wool. This practice consists in mutilating the skin around the perianal area of a sheep in order to avoid the need for care. Indeed, this area is prone to many infections and mulesing is cited as the most effective alternative to fight against contamination. However, this act is contrary to the animal’s well-being and raises many indignations.
The consequences of mulesing
Mulesing is carried out quickly and very often without any anaesthetic. The mutilation is often not carried out by veterinarians but by the producers. Following this, it can take two to three weeks to heal. The psychological trauma for the animal lasts for life. The consequences on the long term create a stormy debate. The cruelty of the act is opposed to animal welfare and is committed only to maximizing production. Thus, ethics are largely sidelined.
Mulesing Free: an eco-responsible and ethical alternative
Mulesing is not a necessary or indispensable act to deal with infectious diseases in sheep. For this reason, this practice is not used in Europe. In order to oppose this practice, some producers are distinguishing themselves through eco-responsible labels that formally prohibit mulesing. Consumers with values in favour of the animal cause can thus buy clothing and other wool-based products without worrying about the well-being of the animal behind the production.These labels include PETA Approved and the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), which are genuine guarantees of Mulesing Free..