FOUR PAWS is ramping up its campaign to urge sports giant Nike toward certified non-mulesed wool use, using footage of lambs being tail-docked with a hot knife and mulesed in New South Wales.
The mulesing footage taken late last year was provided to Collective Fashion Justice by an anonymous worker in a NSW lamb marking team and published on the Farm Transparency Project.
Using terminology from Nike’s own ‘Just Do It’ campaign for equality in sport, FOUR PAWS is running a campaign encouraging people to send a message to Nike chief executive officer John Donahoe, and encourage the sports brand to phase out the use of untraced and probably mulesed wool in their product range.
FOUR PAWS said it has collaborated before on different projects with the Australian organisation CFJ and had reached out about the mulesing footage after it was uploaded, and given the relevance of the material to its campaign, decided to share it with the public.
According to the video meta data this material was provided late 2021, by a former worker in New South Wales, Australia’s biggest wool producing state. The footage has also been supplied to the Animal Justice Party who has been trying to pass legislation in New South Wales to phase out mulesing.
FOUR PAWS said the released footage appears to show “a multitude of mutilations without adequate pain-relief”, although the full footage shows Tri-Solfen was applied after mulesing. Collective Fashion Justice founder and director Emma Håkansson said “some minutes” prior to mulesing buccalgesic was administered which she said was not enough to eliminate pain on the day of mulesing or following.
“Even with pain relief, these lambs are clearly suffering, showing both physical and mental distress signs.”
Ms Håkansson said CFJ would like to see mulesing banned in Australia.
”This could occur first at a state or federal level, but the ultimate goal is to see this archaic practice eliminated entirely – there are effective alternatives.
“Even if lambs are not being mulesed, they are still being tail docked and castrated — if male and being kept for wool-growing — often without pain relief,” she said.
“Whether using the banding, knife or hot iron method, these are extremely painful practices.”
FOUR PAWS said athletes including Austrian football player Dominik Braunsteiner and pro free rider Daniela Hochmuth are supporting the call to end mulesing. FOUR PAWS has called on Nike to follow its biggest competitors, Puma and Adidas, who already made public commitments, to (in 2025 and 2030) exclude wool from mulesed sheep from their supply chain by committing to certified mulesing-free wool.
FOUR PAWS head of the wool campaign Rebecca Picallo Gil, said for an athlete, the worst thing that can happen is getting injured.
“The new footage clearly shows the pain that the wool industry is yet to prevent and the need for Nike to ensure it is not sourcing wool from intentionally injured Australian lambs.
“You may think that the biggest sportswear brand in the world who has always been a frontrunner on big social causes such as racism, gender equality, environmental issues or inclusivity would also lead in taking responsibility towards animals in their product range.
“But the US-based brand with the swoosh hascampaign not taken real action to reliably exclude wool from mulesed sheep in their product range and protect innocent lambs.”
Nike has not responded to a request from Sheep Central for comment on the FOUR PAWS campaign.