By  on June 28, 2012

TOKYO — Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo said Thursday that it will stop using wool from suppliers who engage in mulesing, a method of pest control that animal rights activists consider to be cruel and inhumane.

The move comes shortly after Uniqlo encountered a protest from PETA animal rights activists in Manila, where it opened a store earlier this month. The protesters had threatened to organize a boycott of the Japanese fast fashion retail giant over its wool-sourcing practices.

Mulesing is a surgical procedure in which flaps of the sheep's skin are cut away in order to prevent flystrike, a type of maggot infection common among merino sheep. According to PETA, Australia is the only country in the world that practices mulesing.

"We are aware of concerns raised over the practice of mulesing sheep, and because of our commitment to animal welfare and health, we have directed our merino wool suppliers to phase out sourcing wool from farms that practice mulesing," said a statement on parent company Fast Retailing's website.

Uniqlo joins Abercrombie & Fitch, Liz Claiborne, Gap and other retailers that have spoken out against the practice of mulesing.

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