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Wool from non-mulesed sheep rising each year – Mr Morgan, AWIS

16
May '09
Mr Peter Morgan, Executive Consultant, AWIS
Recently Chinese wool, buyers had insisted on buying only non-mulesed wool from Australian manufacturers. The wool industry had also faced a lot of flak from apparel retailers in Europe in 2008 for still continuing with the age old method of mulesing of wool, while competitor countries like New Zealand and Peru have found alternative methods

Wool sector in Australia will have to sit up and take notice of the difficulties that farmers are facing, as buyers from other countries refuse to purchase wool from Australia if mulesing is not stopped. We at Fibre2Fashion, to understand the whole issue, approached Mr Peter Morgan, Executive Consultant at Australian Wool Industries Secretariat (AWIS), which is the mother body of other wool trade organisations.

First and foremost, we wanted to know the progress the Australian wool industry had made in adopting non-mulesing methods, since the time a delegation met European retailers, last year, to which he said, “The Australian wool industry has introduced a document called the Nation Wool Vendor Declaration which Australian wool growers use to declare if their wool has come from non-mulesed sheep”.

He continued, “Again there are three different kinds of declaration; the wool has come from sheep which have not been mulesed; the wool has come from farms where mulesing has ceased which is the most important declaration, which is used for sheep which were born before the farms were able to adopt suitable alternatives to mulesing and the last that the wool has come from sheep on farms where it is not yet possible to stop mulesing for animal welfare reasons and sheep have been treated with a pain relief anesthetic treatment after mulesing”.

Next we asked him that since China is the biggest buyer of Australian wool and the ante against mulesed wool could affect sales, how does he expect to retain their biggest buyer, to which he confidently said, “Chinese buyers who wish to buy wool from non-mulesed sheep are able to do so by use of the above declarations provided by Australian wool growers and experience in Australia indicates that the amount of wool available from non-mulesed sheep is increasing each year and also not all Chinese buyers require wool from non-mulesed sheep”.

We were also keen to know how much the wool sector has suffered due to the financial crisis and what has been the extent of job losses, to which he said, “The Australian wool industry has been affected by the global financial crisis in two ways; one, demand for textile products, especially, high fashion products fell, as wool is mostly used in high fashion products and two, the uncertainty caused by the global financial crisis caused wool processors to use up existing wool stocks in their wool stores, rather than buy new wool”.

“This caused a decline in prices which continued until the end of February this year. Again, around that time, wool stocks got to very low levels in wool processor's stores and they started buying fresh wool to have enough wool to keep their wool processing factories busy, which has caused a steady increase in wool prices since then, with the prices rising by nearly 28 percent in US dollar since the end of February”.


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