Support for brands and retailers

Alongside human rights and environmental protection, good animal welfare is a crucial component of sustainability and ethical fashion.

Animal welfare issues and business risks can arise within any animal-based supply chain. Animals used by the textiles industry may be subjected to inadequate living conditions and diets, restricted movement, painful mutilations, long term mental stress, poor breeding choices and more.

In today’s world, consumers care deeply about issues like these and therefore how brands value animals. This sentiment was reflected in a recent YouGov poll, commissioned by FOUR PAWS, which found 1 in 3 shoppers prefer brands who prioritise animal protection.


To assist brands in overall policy development and on specific issues such as mulesing, FOUR PAWS has developed Animal Welfare Policy Development Guidelines, and a guidebook titled Transitioning Away From Mulesed Wool – more on these below.

For brands transitioning to or creating vegan product lines, FOUR PAWS recommends reviewing guidelines developed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to make sure that anything described as vegan is completely free of animal products.

For brands choosing to continue using animal-derived materials, FOUR PAWS encourages the swift development of a robust vision, goals, policy and an implementation plan, all aimed at achieving the highest possible animal welfare standards. The FOUR PAWS policy development guidelines can assist brands in developing these essential animal protection plans.

Featuring interviews with brand sustainability managers who have already committed to moving away from mulesing, including fashion powerhouses H&M, Kathmandu and Espirit, the mulesing guidebook presents referenced information for brands on what mulesing is, why it’s happening, what the viable pain-free alternatives to managing flystrike are, an overview of the key wool assurance initiatives and also what risks mulesing brings to CSR.

Taking responsibility for the welfare of animals

With increasing consumer concerns about the treatment of animals, it’s no surprise that international guidelines, such as those by the OECD, encourage businesses to investigate the extent to which they could be implicated for animal welfare violations.

It’s clear that brands can strongly influence the way animals are cared for within their supply chains. It’s crucial brands understand the welfare risks involved with using animal products, what the best forms of traceability are and to implement effective animal protection policies. When taking such steps, companies can proactively demonstrate what they stand for, which practices they want to be identified with and most importantly, their ability to leverage positive change for animals.

Right now FOUR PAWS is especially focused on tackling four spotlight issues. These are mulesing in the wool industry, the farming and trapping of wild animals for fur or exotic leather, as well as live-plucking and force-feeding ducks and geese.

For more information, you can reach us via Together we can achieve an animal-friendly fashion future!

P.S Did you know that FOUR PAWS Internationally consults to groups like Textile Exchange, and intergovernmental organisations such as the OECD on their animal welfare standards?

And for Aussie brands, did you know that our Australian office is the official representative of the Fur Free Retailer program? If you’re interested in knowing more about how you can join the program and would like your brand to pledge to go fur-free, we’d love to hear from you!