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

Animal welfare issues and critical business risks can arise within any animal-based supply chain. Animals used by the textiles industry can be subjected to appalling living conditions, painful mutilations, long term mental stress, and much more. In today’s world, consumers care deeply about issues like these and therefore how brands value animals.


To assist brands in overall animal welfare 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.

To receive a copy of any of the FOUR PAWS tools, please register your details via the form and they will be sent to you immediately.

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Cover of the Animal Welfare in Fashion 2020 report with a picture of a goose

World’s first report finds fashion critically lagging on animal welfare

New research from FOUR PAWS finds the fashion industry comes up short between what is said and what is delivered, with only 21% of brands tracing even a portion of animal-derived materials for animal welfare. It also lists the essential first steps brands need to take, including ultimately the development of a comprehensive animal welfare policy.

Animal Welfare Policy Development Guidelines in Textiles

For brands choosing to continue using animal-derived materials, FOUR PAWS encourages the swift development or strengthening of existing animal welfare policies.

These should include a robust vision, goals, 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 and contain guidance per animal-derived material.

Transitioning away from mulesed wool. A guide on why and how

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 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 a road-map as to how to transition away from mulesed wool within your supply chains.

Cover of Towards a Mulesed Future report with BG Consulting

Economic study on transitioning to non-mulesed sheep

A new independent survey of 97 woolgrowers across Australia shows producers achieving higher profitability, operational viability, and improvements on animal welfare after their transition to plain-bodied sheep.

The report also includes 7 case studies to guide other sheep producers on their transition plan for a future without mulesing.

To receive a copy of any of the FOUR PAWS tools, please register your details via the form above and they will be sent to you immediately.

Vegan product lines

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 truly free of animal products.

Taking responsibility for the welfare of animals

When taking steps forward to improve animal welfare, companies can proactively demonstrate what they stand for, and which practices they want to be identified with.

FOUR PAWS is especially focusing our efforts on some of the most critical issues, including 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 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!