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AWI emphasizes on alternatives to mulesing
Jan '09
Australian wool industry denied the claims by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that it has damaged its business as leading fashion houses boycott the fibre because of mulesing.

Experts from the Australian wool market said that boycotts called by the PETA had had no literal effect on their sales and prices.

Mr Michael Gleeson, Senior Manager Corporate Communications, Australian Wool Innovation Ltd, speaking exclusively to Fibre2fashion.com, regarding reasons for boycotting Australian Wool said, “I don't believe there is any sensible reason for boycotting Australian wool. Wool is natural, biodegradable and sustainable and truly one of the great natural fibres of the world. Australian woolgrowers care for their animals. AWI deals with the 200 biggest retailers and brands in the world, the vast majority of which are business partners and still actively put woolen garments on their shelves.”

Australia supplies around 85 percent of the world's apparel wool. The industry has pledged to phase out mulesing by 2010, and more than a quarter of woolgrowers no longer mules their sheep.

Mulesing is the practice of surgically removing skin around the breech of the sheep to prevent the debilitating and often fatal problem of fly strike.

Discussing other alternate techniques of shearing of wool, Mr Michael Gleeson divulged, “AWI is involved in research and development to search for viable alternatives to mulesing. Anti flystrike clips will be on the market in the first quarter of this year and may be a viable solution for many woolgrowers. Several other techniques are presently under development and undergoing testing. Selective breeding is also being used as a method to breed sheep with a bare breech. It's been estimated that somewhere between 30 percent and 46 percent of lambs this year will not be mulesed.”

AWI has been working diligently for the past five years on research and development of alternatives and it will continue to invest in this R & D.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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