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Retailers support mulesing phase-out by 2010
Feb '08
The commitment by the Australian wool industry to phase out mulesing must be met or space for wool on the shelves of European stores cannot be guaranteed...

This was the blunt warning to an Australian delegation that travelled to Sweden and Germany to address concerns of major retailers such as H&M, which included WoolProducers Australia President Don Hamblin.

“In every meeting we attended we were confronted with concern that the industry was not serious about phasing out mulesing,” said Mr Hamblin.

“It was the view of companies such as H&M that the plan to phase out mulesing has now become 'aspirational' rather than a firm commitment.” “The consequences of this thinking could be dire for growers.”

Mr Hamblin said that he had no doubt as to what was underpinning this fear. “We must be clear that one of the main reasons the industry is in the current predicament in Sweden is the leverage that some in Australia have given to the animal rights extremists.”

“While debate about the definitions of a 2010 'target' versus 'deadline' might be populist and make for good politics in Australia, it erodes support from our customers in Europe.”

“Our agri-politics is making them question their long term commitment to wool.” “Instead, as an industry we must unite and deliver our customers solutions to mulesing.” Mr Hamblin also used the experience of talking with retailers to rule out 'renegotiating' the deadline of 2010.

“Someof the discussion around mulesing has involved the claim that the commitment to phase it out by 2010 can somehow be renegotiated.”

“Those who advocate this need to understand that the debate has passed them by.”“This thinking is naïve at best and dangerous to the industry at worst. The only reason we hang onto the support of retailers is because we have committed to end mulesing.”

“Our customers are asking for more action and 'runs on the board' by way of unmulesed wool appearing in the auction system.”“Renege on this commitment and watch the support dry up.”

WoolProducers Australia Ltd

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