Boohoo has announced it will continue using wool in its products, despite earlier promising to enforce a ban by the autumn.
The online fashion retailer had faced a backlash after unveiling plans to stop selling items containing wool – with one sheep farmer telling Sky News he was “absolutely disgusted” by the ban.
But hours after the apparent ban was revealed, the company issued a revised statement saying: “Boohoo continues to assess all options as part of its ongoing commitment to a more sustainable future.
“We are committed to ensuring the wool used in our supply chain comes from good husbandry and meets high levels of animal welfare, and will continue to use wool as a sustainable material.”
Boohoo’s initial plans to scrap wool products had been praised by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The animal rights organisation recently released footage of alleged abuse at 99 shearing sheds around the world – and said the video showed “systematic” and “horrific” maltreatment.
Boohoo’s (now reversed) stance had been dismissed as a publicity stunt, with analysis by The Daily Telegraph suggesting the fashion website didn’t sell any items containing wool anyway.
The retailer says it is continuing to engage with PETA “to discuss options that will balance our customer demand, animal welfare and sustainable future”.
Campaigners have claimed that some farmers selectively breed their sheep to produce coats which are excessively thick and heavy – causing them to suffer from overheating.
There is no suggestion that Boohoo has been selling wool products from such farms.
Humane Society International has said that, in the past, multiple investigations have shown shearers “abusing sheep by kicking, punching, throwing and stamping on them”.
The organisation’s executive director, Claire Bass, explained: “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.”
Victoria Beckham recently confirmed that she will no longer be using exotic animal skins in her fashion collections.
(c) Sky News 2019: Boohoo changes its mind – hours after announcing ban on wool