Oz celebs join forces to battle PETA

Melbourne, June 9 (ANI): Some of Australia's biggest celebrities have told US animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to back off in its campaign to boycott wool from mulesed sheep.

As PETA convinced another international retailer to boycott Australian wool that has been mulesed, leading fashion designer Alex Perry has called for a halt in the group's campaign.

"PETA needs to back off. I understand where they are coming from, there needs to be alternative to mulesing, but give farmers a chance to develop it," News.com.au quoted Perry, as saying.

Perry, the judge of Australia's Next Top Model, has joined forces with rugby league star Nathan Hindmarsh, Myer, country music singers Gina Jeffreys, Shannon Noll and John Williamson in a bid to stop PETA from attacking wool farmers.

Perry, used Australian wool in his recent winter collection and vowed to continue to use it in the future, said that executives sitting in offices overseas like New York should not be making a decision to boycott goods without all the facts.

"Wool is a huge export and the rest of the world gets our best, but PETA goes to the extreme and it doesn't understand how it impacts on our industry," he said.

The industry, which last year exported 395,000 tonnes of wool valued at 2.09 billion dollars, has agreed to phase out mulesing by 2010 and is already using alternatives like anaesthetic and plastic clips.

However, PETA has not backed off.

Fifth-generation wool grower Jamie Swales, who runs 10,000 sheep near Armidale, said he was gradually phasing out mulesing.

"We will try and gradually breed out wrinkly backsides by selecting sheep with less wrinkle, but it takes time, it doesn't happen overnight," he said.

"Farmers don't mules sheep to be cruel, it's the better option available. Instead of crucifying us, (PETA) should be working with us to come up with alternatives," he added. (ANI)

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