H&M stops using some wool on sheep welfare concern
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz said on Monday it would stop buying merino wool taken from sheep in Australia that had been subjected to what it considered the unacceptable process of "mulesing."
Mulesing involves cutting part of a sheep's skin from its hind quarters to prevent flystrike, a potentially fatal maggot infestation, but animal rights groups say the procedure is often carried out without anesthetic.
"H&M does not accept mulesing," H&M said in a statement. "The company has decided to direct its buying towards other countries of origin and other suppliers in Australia that can guarantee mulesing-free merino wool."
Merino wool, which comes from a breed of sheep by the same name, comes in several sizes. Super-fine merinos are considered among the softest and most sought-after wools.
The Australian wool industry has agreed to phase out mulesing by 2010, but H&M spokeswoman Katarina Kempe said the process was going too slowly and the deadline was in danger.
Kempe at H&M said there was only a very small selection of merino wool in the company's collections. But she said H&M wanted to take a stand to promote animal welfare.
(Editing by Will Waterman)