Mulesing free: what does it mean?
And why should fashion care about it?
Mulesing is a cruel practice used in merino sheep farms. Actually, it’s a word we weren’t familiar with. But we realise that addressing fashion that respects people, nature, and animals requires much attention.
While placing our Fall/Winter 22-23 orders, we looked through the Plantation 1982 line sheet to pick our favourite clothes. And so, we had the chance to read about this technique.
“The merino wool used for this pullover is mulesing-free, to help improve animal welfare.” – so the line sheet said.
One of the reasons why we particularly appreciate Japanese brands like Plantation is that they provide detailed information not only about the design but the material, too. Indeed, they explain why the designing team selected a specific fabric highlighting all the characteristics.
After reading about this particular merino wool, we researched a bit and discovered a horrendous way of getting this material from sheep.
Mulesing: what is it?
Especially in Australia and Asia, sheep are bred to have wrinkly skin to get more wool per animal. But the wrinkles retain urine and moisture, attracting more parasites that can eat the sheep alive. To prevent this kind of parasitic infection, ranchers perform “mulesing.” They force the sheep onto their backs, block their legs and rip off the skin from the backsides without any painkiller.
This mutilating practice is brutal torture! So we must stop it and find other ways to get the wool.
What is the alternative?
The good news is that the solution already exists: mulesing-free wool. It is a careful shearing practice which respects animal welfare. Therefore the sheep do not undergo any mutilation or antiparasitic treatment harmful to the animal, operators and final customers who get in contact with the wool.
No mulesing: responsible fashion
Fashion designers are responsible for finding respectful ways of making their garments. They must hold themselves accountable for how they conceive and produce their clothing. And find alternative ethical approaches for the fashion industry.
Perhaps we cannot grant sustainability – no one really can! Even those who wave the eco/green buzzwords. But we do our best to select specific quality materials and meaningful garments. And so, fashion in respect of people, the planet and animals.