Millions of lambs bred for wool suffer across Australia as they are subjected to ‘mulesing’, a painful mutilation meant to protect them from flystrike. But thanks to pressure from the retail industry, more and more farmers are phasing out mulesing and implementing less painful ways to prevent flystrike.
Is your favourite brand or retailer saying ‘no’ to mulesed wool? Use our Better Wool Guide to find brands and retailers with policies against mulesing. Use your purchasing decisions to help bring an end to painful mulesing as this growing list of commitments by brands and retailers is driven by you!
Browse the rankings below and download a copy of the guide to keep handy. It contains a full list of rankings, links to each company's policy and more information about our campaign to end mulesing.
The guide includes brands and retailers that either already have a policy against purchasing mulesed wool or have a commitment to phase it out. We have ranked them:
• Already 100% non-mulesed with verification partly or exclusively through a robust certification scheme (such as the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS), NewMerino, ZQ Merino, or equivalent)
• Or have a time-bound commitment to be fully non-mulesed with verification partly or exclusively through a robust certification scheme.
• Committed to phase out mulesed wool but with no timeline or certification scheme specified
• Or committed to phase out mulesed wool but relying on verification through a less robust certification scheme.
• Includes retailers/brands that have a position against mulesing displayed publicly, but without any details specified.
Looking for more ethical shopping choices? Check out our Fur Free Retailer List.
If you are a retailer or a brand with a policy against mulesing and not on the list, please get in touch with us. We'd love to recognise more brands taking a stand against mulesing.
* HSI encourages retailers and brands to commit to only sourcing wool from more robust certification schemes such as the RWS, New Merino and ZQ Merino. These schemes also prohibit a controversial mulesing alternative called Steining, also termed sheep freeze branding or freeze mulesing. This practice is unfortunately classified as ‘non-mulesed’ at the moment under the National Wool Declaration (NWD)*** run by AWEX. HSI opposes any form of breech mutilation or modification, and freeze mulesing is an alternative form of breech mutilation using liquid nitrogen rather than mulesing shears. Like mulesing, it still leaves sheep at risk of developing flystrike in other areas, and at the time of writing there is no scientific evidence suggesting that it does not cause significant pain. The Better Wool Guide consists of brands and retailers with a position against mulesing, a time-bound commitment to phase it out, and some that have made a public statement opposing it. Please be aware that those that have committed to using certification schemes such as the RWS, NewMerino and ZQ Merino which specifically oppose freeze mulesing are the most robust, but we are aware that others will be relying on AWEX’s National Wool Declaration. In our discussions with many retailers and brands we have highlighted the importance of assurance schemes and encouraged the use of RWS and others as the most highly recommended. Where they have publicly stated which scheme they adhere to we have displayed that information where possible. The Better Wool Guide acts as a public display of their positions to allow consumers to access them more easily, and make a more informed decision about which is the most ethical choice for them.
The Better Wool Guide initiative encourages brands and retailers to stop sourcing wool from mulesed sheep, and encourages consumers to support the businesses listed. It is part of HSI Australia’s efforts to improve the lives of sheep in the wool industry. Whilst care has been taken in the preparation of the contents displayed on this webpage, it is general information only. HSI Australia does not assume or accept any responsibility and shall not be liable for the accuracy or appropriate application of the information displayed. There are links displayed to external pages run by third parties, but since we have no influence over the content of these pages, we cannot guarantee their accuracy. The content of third party pages is always the responsibility of the respective businesses. HSI Australia aims to keep this information timely and accurate and if errors are brought to our attention, we will endeavour to correct them in a timely manner.