Around 90% of the worlds merino wool comes from Australia and the US

Around 90% of the world's merino wool comes from Australia and the US

UK value fashion retailer Primark has launched an investigation following the release of video footage exposing a series of violations in the wool industry.

The video footage released by animal rights group PETA in the US and Australia - the source of 90% of the world's merino wool - shows sheep being violently abused during shearing, live export and mulesing.

As part of its campaign, the pressure group last week called on consumers and retailers to boycott wool products.

But in a statement sent to just-style today (15 July), a spokesperson for Primark said: "Primark thanks PETA for bringing this matter to our attention.

"We have launched an investigation into this issue with our suppliers who produce our wool products and a further update will be made in due course."

Marks & Spencer, meanwhile, said it has a strict animal welfare policy that all its suppliers must adhere to as a condition of doing business with the retailer.

"There is no suggestion or evidence that any of the farms PETA have investigated supply M&S," a company statement noted.

Separately, a spokesperson for Internet and catalogue retailer N Brown told just-style that none of the wool it uses comes from Australia or the US.

The allegations concerning the treatment of sheep comes less than a year after PETA led a campaign to boycott angora - which saw a number of fashion brands and retailers ban the use of the fibre.

After being shown "shocking" conditions at farms in China - where 90% of the world's angora wool is sourced - retailers including Arcadia Group (which includes BHS, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Topman, Topshop and Wallis), Debenhams, Forever 21, H&M, Lands' End, Marks & Spencer, New Look, Next and Primark pledged to keep angora out of their future collections.

C&A, Esprit, French Connection, Gap Inc and Zara have also suspended angora production, but have not committed to keeping it out of future collections.

Expert analysis

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