Bündnis für nachhaltige Textilien
Know-how

Wool

Characteristics of the material

Virgin wool is antibacterial, thermally regulating, thermally insulating, water-repellent, flame retardant, antistatic, breathable and has a high moisture absorption capacity.

Use

New wool is used, for example, in the manufacture of clothing fabrics, home textiles or sportswear, and is processed into functional coverings, curtains and insulating materials due to its flame-retardant properties. The wool fat lanolin, which adheres to the fibre, is used as soap, skin cream and medicines.

Production

Schurwolle bezeichnet Wolle, die von lebenden Schafen geschoren wurde. Nach der Schur wird die Wolle nach Qualität sortiert, gereinigt und die Fasern in einen Kardierprozess parallelisiert, bevor sie, beispielsweise für die Herstellung von Stoffen, zu Garn versponnen wird.

Challenges

In particular, the conditions in which sheep are kept pose a threat to animal welfare. This represents the greatest challenge for the responsible production of new wool. Such a threat exists if basic animal welfare standards such as the so-called "Five Freedoms" of the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) are disregarded. Fly bites, mostly in the area of the wool sheep's tail, cause open wounds, which can lead to great suffering and death of the animals. In the so-called "mulesing", the conventional prevention of such an infestation, part of the skin is surgically removed without anaesthesia or painkillers, causing scarring of the tissue around the tail. Animal protection organizations see an injury of the animal protection in this practice and criticize Mulesing therefore strongly.

Contribution of the Textiles Partnership

All member companies of the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles that use virgin wool are obliged to publish a policy on the procurement of responsibly produced virgin wool that rejects mulesing.

The Textiles Partnership considers new wool to be sustainable if the owners adhere to the "Five Freedoms" and refrain from mulesing their animals (status: "non-mulesed" or "ceased mulesing").

Zum Thema Schurwolle hat das Textilbündnis eine Risikobewertung (DE also EN) verfasst. Darin geht es um Tierschutz und Tierwohl (Fünf Freiheiten), sowie Alternativen zum Mulesing und um Sorgfaltspflichten bei der Beschaffung von Schurwolle.

Furthermore, the IWTO Specification for Wool Sheep Welfare and the Responsible Wool Standard Farmer Guidebook inform about the requirements of the "Five Freedoms".

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