Merino wool is known to be the favorite material of many outdoor enthusiasts. It´s the perfect fabric for varying outdoor conditions when you need to stay warm in a cold climate or stay cool in a warm climate. The wool also absorbs the moisture without feeling wet or cold. So why should we pay attention that our favorite merino wool sportswear is mulesing-free?
Mulesing has been a routine surgical procedure for the majority of sheep especially in Australia where most of the commercial wool comes from. It is a method used by some sheep farmers preventing their sheep from being killed by infections caused by insects. Mulesing procedure means cutting skin from around a lamb’s breech to create an area of bare, stretched skin. Because the scarred skin has no folds or wrinkles to hold moisture and feces, it is less likely to attract blowflies who might cause the death of the sheep.
Research shows the pain of mulesing is similar to that of castration, but it lasts up to 48 hours. No animal should have to go through the pain and stress that this kind of procedure causes. Public pressure to improve sheep welfare has led to the wool industry researching alternatives to mulesing. Luckily, there are other ways to keep sheep safe from these insects but they are more expensive in the long run. This is why mulesing-free merino wool items might cost a bit extra.
When buying wool, you should look for standards and certifications that ensure the fair treatment of animals and the respect of the environment, such as the Responsible Wool Standard and ZQ Merino Standard. There are also clothing made from recycled wool which means using pre- or post-consumer wool waste to make a new outdoor garment.