IT has become clear that the Australian Merino wool boycott by Indian fashion designers was based on misinformation distributed by People for the Ehtical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
One of the designers, Hemant Trevedi, who studied in Perth and whose family currently lives there, said the only information he received on mulesing was from PETA¹s Indian branch.
Mr Trevedi also admitted to working with PETA for many years.
³PETA India sent me the full report,² Mr Trevedi said.
³Farmers cut the flesh on the backsides of sheep, in order to prevent fly strike.²
According to Mr Trevedi, mulesing was something done by farmers when other alternatives were available.
³Mulesing was developed as a cheaper alternative to farmers who perhaps neglect appropriate care to their flock,² he said.
Nigel Gosse, spokesman for the Australian Wool and Sheep Industry Taskforce said many of the things Mr Trevedi and PETA claimed were untrue.
³Flesh is not cut from the sheep as PETA claim,² Mr Gosse said.
³Rather a minimal amount of skin is removed from the sheep in a husbandry procedure that takes about one minute.
³Far from neglecting their flocks, Australian woolgrowers use mulesing as part of an integrated management approach to sheep health and welfare.²
Mr Trevedi said he had evidence that mulesing in Australia was not a necessity.
³A friend of mine has been to sheep farms in Australia where they do not undertake mulesing,² he said.
³These farms are proof that when you use existing alternatives, you can prevent fly strike. Mulesing is something that is distinctly Australian and it needs to change.²
WAFarmers wool section president Max Watts said that from his comments it was obvious that Mr Trevedi had been ill-informed by PETA.
³Mr Trevedi states that there are currently alternatives to mulesing, this is simply not true,² Mr Watts said.
³He has been very ill-informed, we are currently trying to find alternatives but at this current stage there are no viable options.²
When asked for further details of the mulesing-free farms, Mr Trevedi requested the question be directed to Œhis friend¹, the director of PETA Asia-Pacific, Jason Baker.
Mr Watts said that while Australia was by far the world¹s largest producer of Merino wool, mulesing was not distinctly Australian.
³New Zealand practice mulesing on at least half of their Merino population,² he said.
Mr Gosse added that mulesing was also carried out, albeit to a much lesser extent, in South Africa.
In its fact sheet on the wool industry, PETA condemns shearing and says growing wool on animals harms them.
But in another mulesing publication released by the group, it recommends shearing and crutching as an alternative to mulesing.
³It seems PETA just aim at maximum input, when you do challenge them they run away from it,² Mr Watts said. ³They continue to tell lies and the evidence is beginning to highlight those lies.²