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Boohoo faces backlash for banning wool products over animal rights concerns | UK News

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Fashion website Boohoo has become the first UK mainstream retailer to ban the use of wool in its products – but has faced backlash over the decision.

The online store, which also owns PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal, said in a statement it would “not knowingly source wool products” by the autumn.

The move has been applauded by animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), which recently released footage of abuse at 99 shearing sheds across the world.

It described “systematic” and “horrific” animal abuse at sheep-shearing facilities and claims the industry also has an environmental impact.

The organisation’s director, Elisa Allen, said that she expected more retailers and designers to follow Boohoo in banning wool products.

Boohoo has been accused of creating a publicity stunt
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Boohoo says it will ‘not knowingly source wool products’ by autumn

However, others have claimed that the move is a publicity stunt, with analysis by The Telegraph suggesting the retailer doesn’t currently sell any items containing wool.

In 2018, the Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee found that Boohoo was among the “least engaged” retailers when it came to sustainability.

The company was criticised for selling dresses for as little as £5 when the minimum wage was £7.83.

Sheep farmer Gareth Wyn Jones told Sky News he was “absolutely disgusted” by Boohoo’s decision to ban wool and it is important for the sheep’s health for them to be shorn.

He said that the animals are vulnerable to maggots which can eat them alive if they are not regularly shorn.

He added that he had personally “not seen one piece of evidence” of animal cruelty at shearing sheds.

Peta says sheep are selectively bred to produce coats which are excessively thick and heavy, causing them to suffer from overheating and flystrike.

Peta claims to have footage of alleged animal abuse at sheep shearing facilities
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Peta recorded footage of animal abuse at sheep shearing facilities

Humane Society International has also welcome Boohoo’s move.

Executive director Claire Bass said: “Undercover investigations, including here in the UK, have shown shearers abusing sheep by kicking, punching, throwing and stamping on them.

“The speed of the wool production line can mean that these gentle animals are callously treated like mere units of production, with little respect for their welfare.

“And when they are no longer needed for their wool they are sent to slaughterhouses, and sometimes transported live for slaughter in other countries, enduring gruelling journeys that can last for weeks before being killed.

Boohoo’s ban on wool follows Victoria Beckham’s confirmation that she will no longer be using exotic animal skins in her fashion collections.

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