Pitted against each other for the past two years in the Federal Court of Australia - and on the front steps of some of the world's biggest retailers - Australian Wool Innovation and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have reached a...
SYDNEY — Pitted against each other for the past two years in the Federal Court of Australia — and on the front steps of some of the world's biggest retailers — Australian Wool Innovation and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have reached a cease-fire, at least for the time being.
Last week, following four days of mediation, AWI, the Australian wool industry's research and development arm, agreed to withdraw its two-year-old federal court case against PETA. In exchange, the animal rights organization agreed to a temporary suspension worldwide of its activities either calling for, or threatening to call for, a consumer boycott of any retailer involved in the sale of products made from mulesed wool. The agreement will last until Dec. 31, 2010 — the date by which the Australian wool industry has agreed to phase out surgical mulesing.
But PETA is obliged to maintain the moratorium beyond Dec. 31, 2007, under several provisos, including that an education program is established for Australian wool growers who mules their sheep; that a labelling system is introduced by which unmulesed wool may be identified to manufacturers and retailers, and that AWI establishes a genetic research program subject to biannual review by a panel of independent experts to be agreed upon by AWI and PETA. According to AWI, all these industry initiatives were already in the pipeline.
Both sides have claimed victory in the case.
"Any objective person has to conclude that this is a huge backdown on behalf of AWI," said PETA's Australian lawyer, Fraser Shepherd, of Sydney law firm Gilbert and Tobin, adding the group is setting up an Australian office and has no intention of taking its eyes off the mulesing issue. Noted Shepherd, "This agreement doesn't stop picketing, a call for a boycott of Australian wool; it doesn't restrict 99 percent of the campaign."
According to AWI deputy chief executive officer Les Targ, PETA was offered exactly the same deal in 2004 but refused it.
"For three years they've been taking us head on and they've seen the whites of our eyes and they've seen that we will defend this industry, and I don't think they're used to that," said Targ."We can't stop them undertaking ordinary, legal protest activity — if they want to protest outside an Australian embassy, we can't stop them," he said, adding the industry has already spent 8 million to 10 million Australian dollars, or $6.8 million to $8.5 million at current exchange, fighting PETA's campaign, including 3 million Australian dollars, or $2.6 million, in legal fees and 2 million Australian dollars, or $1.7 million, on an advertising campaign in the U.S.
Targ said, "We'll see if they do us some damage. We will continue to protect this industry's best interests. PETA knows and our wool growers know and the retailers know that there is a line that we won't let them cross."
In late 2004, PETA initiated a consumer boycott against Australian sheep farmers, mainly over the Australian farming practise of mulesing — the stripping of flesh from a lamb's hindquarters to prevent flystrike, which is endemic in Australia — and the export of live sheep.
PETA's campaign against mulesing targeted a number of retailers. After being threatened with action, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. agreed not to use Australian wool. J. Crew and the U.K.'s New Look did not join the boycott, but assured PETA they did not use mulesed wool. Benetton Group SpA refused to join any boycott, prompting a series of PETA protests outside its stores in the U.S. and Europe. The campaign against Benetton was dropped after the Italian company lent its support to an agreement signed by PETA and the Australian Wool Growers Association in August 2005, which set out specific targets for a complete phase-out of mulesing by 2010, including a condition that live exports be halted.
PETA's claims that a number of other firms joined the campaign — including American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Timberland Co. and Limited Brands Inc. — were refuted by AWI. The organization nevertheless continues to recruit celebrities to its anti-mulesing cause, including the American singer Pink and Australian actor Toni Colette, who spoke out against mulesing. However, both later apologized to Australian wool farmers, conceding they had gotten their facts wrong.
AWI initiated federal court proceedings against PETA in November 2004, serving papers on the organization's president, Ingrid Newkirk, on-camera, at the conclusion of an interview Newkirk had done on the mulesing story with Australian "60 Minutes." The thrust of the claim was that PETA had breached the secondary boycott provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.In February, Federal Treasurer Peter Costello proposed amendments to the legislation that would strengthen these secondary boycott provisions.
"The government's reforms would enable the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to bring representative actions on behalf of wool growers in cases like this [PETA]," Costello told the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia Centenary Convention in Perth last February, before adding, "Ignorant commentary from misguided celebrities would remain legal."
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye