Retailer Joins Other Major Companies Worldwide That Refuse to Buy Wool That Comes From Sheep Who Are Mutilated as Lambs

For Immediate Release:

March 27, 2012

Tokyo — The international revolt against Australian wool that comes from sheep who are mutilated in a barbaric practice called “mulesing” has just gained another prestigious supporter. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Australia has received written confirmation from the general manager of the apparel division of Tokyo-based clothing retailer Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd., operator of Muji stores, that the company will have phased out purchases of mulesed wool by the time it introduces its winter 2013 line. The latest figures available indicate that Ryohin Keikaku Co., Ltd., has more than 200 Muji stores and supplies 127 other outlets. The company operates in 20 countries and has a turnover of more than 145 billion yen.

“Consumers in Japan and across Asia are shocked to learn about Australia’s dirty little secret: mulesing,” says PETA Australia Director of Campaigns Jason Baker. “Muji is listening to its customers and has set a worthy example for other fashion retailers to follow. The only loser is the cruel Australian merino wool industry.”

In mulesing, large chunks of skin and flesh are cut from lambs’ backsides with instruments resembling gardening shears in a crude and cruel attempt to prevent a type of maggot infestation called “flystrike.” Experts estimate that a transition to sheep who are less susceptible to flystrike could be accomplished in two years. Sheep farmers in New Zealand—and even many in Australia—have already abandoned mulesing.

Muji joins other leading designers and retailers that have pledged not to use Australian wool or wool from mulesed lambs. Nearly 50 major international companies—including H&M, HUGO BOSS, Abercrombie & Fitch, Timberland, Giordano, Gap Inc., Talbots, and Korean retail giant Kukdong Corporation—have pledged to move away from mulesed wool or have implemented an outright ban on wool from mulesed lambs. China’s Sunshine Group, which is Australia’s largest wool buyer, demanded that Australian wool growers put an end to the cruel mulesing mutilations—Cao Xiuming, Sunshine’s director of technology center, cited increasing requests from major international clients that the company offer products made from nonmulesed wool.

For more information about the abuses endured by sheep in the Australian wool industry, please visit