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Crushing blow to Australian wool industry

Jun '07
A lawsuit filed more than two years ago by trade group Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) against PETA--over the animal protection organization's global boycott of cruelly produced wool--has been abandoned, and PETA's campaign against the mutilation and mistreatment of sheep continues full steam ahead.

"Our message is that when animal abusers sue PETA, it's at their own peril," announced PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, one of the defendants in the failed lawsuit. "AWI has wasted millions of dollars of woolgrowers' money, only to find that PETA's call for a boycott of Australian wool is going full-throttle as long as lambs have chunks of their rumps cut off with shears and sheep are herded onto export death ships."

PETA began its campaign against Australian wool in 2004 in an effort to put an end to two abuses of sheep raised for wool: mulesing (the mutilation of lambs' hind quarters) and live exports to the Middle East (many sheep die en route in squalid conditions on the weeks-long journeys, and most who survive are abused in ways that would be illegal in Australia, as PETA has repeatedly documented).

Lawyer Fraser Shepherd of Gilbert + Tobin, the firm that represented PETA and several other defendants in the litigation, described AWI's decision to drop its lawsuit as "a clear lesson to other industries that it is extremely unwise to try to silence their critics by using heavy-handed litigation rather than sensible dialogue."

Under the terms of the agreement reached, AWI is withdrawing its lawsuit and has pledged to do the following, among other things:

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