Super-chic clothing company Ann Taylor is showing that it's got compassion sense to match its fashion sense. The retailer, known for modern silhouettes and sophisticated style, is moving away from purchasing wool from sheep who have been mulesed.
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Mulesing is a painful procedure in which ranchers cut off large chunks of lambs' skin without using any painkillers. The Australian wool industry says that it uses mulesing to prevent a condition known as "flystrike" in which folds in the animals' skin trap moisture and attract flies and maggots—but the gaping open wounds caused by mulesing often lead to flystrike anyway. Many farmers are already using more humane flystrike-prevention methods, including dietary improvements, regular spray washing, and the breeding of bare-breech sheep.
Until farmers stop mulesing sheep, they will continue to lose profits: Ann Taylor joins a long list of major retailers—including H&M, Perry Ellis, HUGO BOSS, Liz Claiborne, and Gap Inc.—that are making the leap for happier sheep by moving away from or banning the use of wool from mulesed sheep. Be sure to take a moment to thank Ann Taylor for this compassionate move.
Written by Michelle Sherrow