“Have a Heart – Stop Mulesing” – PETA protest at Melbourne Fashion Festival, 15 March 2011

Protesters with heart-shaped placards etc

Continuing its campaign against ‘mulesing’, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) staged a protest this evening outside the Designer Award 2011 Finalist show, part of Melbourne Fashion Week sponsored by Woolmark. Two women wearing heart-shaped signs were accompanied by other campaigners holding placards reading ‘No more mulesed wool’, as others distributed leaflets. Not surprisingly, the action attracted a good deal of attention, not least from the large number of photographers there for the occasion, and this caused some alarm on the part of the security guards and management, who restricted the protest to a small area well in front of the entrance to the event:

The protest in front of the entrance

Another view of same

Earlier, PETA had emailed more than 5oo stud merino breeders calling on them to act to stop the practice –

From PETA’s blog:

More than 500 stud merino breeders in Australia received an unexpected e-mail last week: a letter from PETA Australia imploring them to take action to help end the cruel practice of “mulesing.” In a misguided attempt to control flystrike, farmers use instruments resembling gardening shears to cut huge chunks of flesh from sheep’s backsides, while others use clamps similar to vise grips (known as “clips”) to squeeze chunks of skin tightly together until the flesh dies and sloughs off weeks later.

PETA Australia Implores Stud Producers to End Mulesing

The worst part? It’s not necessary. Approximately 20 percent of Australian farmers already control flystrike with humane methods, such as breeding bare-breech and plain-bodied sheep.

In the letter, PETA Australia Director of Campaigns Jason Baker wrote, “It is up to each farmer and breeder to do the right thing – if not for the well-being of sheep, then for the future of your business – and stud merino breeders can be a vital part of making the transition.”

Those wanting a more graphic demonstration of what mulesing involved may wish to view the video available on this page, but should be aware it is not a pleasant sight.

One of the 'hearts' close up