A&F to Boycott Australian Wool

Oct 15, 2004

By George Anderson

Abercrombie & Fitch is no stranger to controversy, but the retail clothing chain has decided to sidestep one regarding the handling of Australian sheep with an announcement the it would not purchase wool from that country until the practices of mulesing and live exports are stopped.

Mulesing is the practice of surgically removing skins from the buttocks and tails of conscious lambs. The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) says the operation is performed without anesthesia. Ranchers say the procedure is necessary to remove folds from the back of sheep that attract blowflys, resulting in maggot infestation.

The retailer wrote a letter to PETA stating: “Abercrombie & Fitch considers the proper treatment of animals to be of critical concern, and it is committed to that end. We shall not support the Australian Merino wool market until both the practice of [m]ulesing is ended and the live exporting of Australian sheep ceases.”

A spokesperson for the retailer, Thomas Lennox, told the Associated Press, Abercrombie & Fitch will source its wool from other sources.

Moderator’s Comments: Are you in agreement with Abercrombie & Fitch’s decision to boycott wool from Australia? What impact will this decision have
on A&F’s business and that of other retailers currently buying wool from Australia?

A&F’s decision to join PETA’s boycott comes at a time when the animal rights group is about to launch a high profile campaign to try and publicly shame
retailers out of sourcing wool from Australia.

George Anderson – Moderator

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