Approximately 80% of the world's apparel wool comes from Australia, where flocks of sheep are vulnerable to a condition called blow fly strike. This potentially fatal condition is caused by an insect called the blow fly which lays its eggs in the folds of skin on a sheep's hindquarters. Because of its climate, Australia is the only country where sheep are susceptible to blow fly strike.
To combat this condition, many Australian wool growers employ mulesing, a practice whereby the skin folds on a sheep's hindquarters are removed with shears. While mulesing is a proven method to combat blow fly strike, it is often, practiced without anesthesia and animal welfare organizations have criticized the practice as unnecessarily painful for sheep.
Talbots is against the practice of mulesing in any form, including clips. We take responsibility for our role in developing mulesing alternatives and believe the only way to a sustainable solution is to encourage industry-wide efforts. To that end, we are collaborating with the wool industry, other brands and relevant governmental and nongovernmental organizations on this issue.
In 2010, we committed to increasing the amount of non-mulesed wool in our assortment each year until we completely eliminate the use of mulesed wool. Since then, we have steadily made progress toward this goal and communicate directly with stakeholders on this progress.