Comfort & Beauty with Compassion
Ethical Sourcing is deeply ingrained in the fabric of our company. It is as important to us as the quality of our beautiful products. From the serene landscapes where our sheep graze, to the skilled hands that transform the wool into our sheepskins, we strive for excellence and integrity in every aspect.
We strongly believe that comfort, beauty and compassion can go hand in hand. By committing to ethical practices along our supply chain, we’re able to assure you of the beauty and comfort of our sheepskins, whilst sourcing with genuine care and respect.
New Zealand Sheepskin
At Fibre by Auskin, the majority of our sheepskins come from the picturesque landscapes of New Zealand – a country committed to ethical sourcing practices and lowering its carbon footprint. Our sheepskins are obtained as a by-product of responsible pastoral farming, where the primary focus is on raising sheep for food. We don’t choose our sheepskins from the field – all of our purchases are a by-product of the food industry exactly like the cowhide leather used in shoes, garments and furniture. Similar to the leather obtained from cattle hides, which is a by-product of the beef industry, sheepskin is a by-product of lamb meat. The raw skins collected by abattoirs and packers originate from farmers who primarily raise sheep for meat rather than their skins. The majority of a sheep's value lies in the sale of its meat, with only a small portion attributed to the sheepskin. Our buyers source from farms using sustainable farming practices founded on the intuitive wisdom of generations of woolgrowers.
New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act strictly prohibits mulesing and as such, Fibre by Auskin will never purchase raw material that has been subjected to mulesing. New Zealand sheep farmers are regulated by strict environmental codes like the Asure Quality standard – which demonstrates leadership in animal welfare and voluntarily building on existing requirements against which its animal welfare practices are measured in New Zealand.
We are proud to source our sheepskins from New Zealand due to a number of factors:
· New Zealand boasts a benign natural environment that lends itself perfectly to pastoral farming practices.
· The country has implemented comprehensive regulations governing animal welfare, and the government takes active measures to enforce these regulations.
· There is a genuine commitment to showcasing New Zealand meat as ethically sourced to international consumers.
· New Zealand has a vibrant animal rights sector that contributes to upholding ethical standards and advocates for animal welfare. Their active involvement illustrates the nation's genuine concern for the well-being of animals.
· New Zealand is the country that developed and encourages the practise of the Five Domains of animal welfare, which goes above the Five Freedoms of animal welfare. The two contain essentially the same elements, however, the Five Domains have greater focus on the mental state of an animal and acknowledges that welfare can be both positive and negative.
Benign Natural Environment
In New Zealand, they do things a little differently when it comes to raising sheep. Unlike many other parts of the world, New Zealand sheep enjoy the freedom of a grass-fed diet. Thanks to the cool to warm temperate climate, sheep are able to freely roam outside in their natural habitat for a full 12 months of the year. What makes New Zealand’s pastoral farming truly unique is that it steers clear of factory farming methods. No processed supplementary feeding or intensive chemical regimes here! New Zealand sheep are raised with the utmost care, allowing them to thrive without the need for such practices. That's how things are done in New Zealand.
Robust Regulations: Protecting Animals in New Zealand
When it comes to animal welfare, New Zealand has truly got it covered. The Animal Welfare Act of 1999 legislation, updated in 2015, places a strong emphasis on the duty of care owed to our beloved animals. This Act gives us a clear understanding of what it means to look after animals. It outlines the responsibilities of animal owners and those in charge of animals, ensuring they meet their physical, health, and behavioural needs. From providing proper food and water, to offering adequate shelter, the Act leaves no stone unturned. But it's not just the basics that matter - the Act recognises the importance of allowing animals to exhibit their natural behaviours, ensuring they have the freedom to be themselves. Additionally, it emphasises the significance of appropriate physical handling and swift detection of any injury or illness to protect their well-being.
To support the Animal Welfare Act, New Zealand has regulations and animal welfare codes in place. Regulations have specific requirements that must be met, leaving no room for compromise. Meanwhile, animal welfare codes establish minimum standards and promote best practices for various animals and animal-related activities. These codes play a crucial role in continuously improving animal welfare across New Zealand.
So, when it comes to caring for animals, New Zealand’s robust legal framework not only sets expectations but also encourages continuous advancements in their well-being.
Ministry of Primary Industries: Safeguarding Animal Welfare Across New Zealand
When it comes to animal welfare, New Zealand has a care-centric, well-organised system in place. The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) is at the forefront of managing, facilitating, and enforcing animal welfare policies and practices throughout the country.
See www.mpi.govt.ns for more detailed information.
Working alongside MPI are two independent statutory bodies that play a crucial role in supporting and advising on animal welfare matters:
· The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee; and
· The National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee
MPI Verification Services is another key player in the animal welfare landscape. They run an on-farm verification program which acts as the backbone of the export certification provided by MPI for animal products destined for the European Union.
One of the notable features of the verification program is the animal status declaration (ASD). This ensures that critical information about each animal is diligently recorded and passed along as it moves from the farm to the meat processing company. As part of the ASD, an animal welfare statement is included, reflecting New Zealand's commitment to keeping everyone informed about the well-being of the animals involved.
New Zealand's comprehensive approach to animal welfare underscores the country’s dedication to responsible practices and transparent processes. Through the collaborative efforts of MPI, the independent committees, and the verification program, New Zealand strives to set a high standard for animal welfare, promoting ethical practices and ensuring the well-being of its beloved creatures.
A Genuine Commitment
In New Zealand, there's a growing recognition of the importance of showcasing ethically sourced meat to international supermarket groups and their customers. This has sparked private initiatives, led by major meat processing companies, to focus on enhancing animal welfare practices. These companies have taken proactive steps by introducing accreditation programs for their farmer suppliers. The aim? To elevate standards and ensure greater compliance across the board.
These accreditation programs serve as valuable mechanisms for driving positive change. They provide a framework through which farmers can enhance their practices and meet the increasing demand for ethically-sourced meat. By actively engaging with their suppliers, the meat processing companies aim to raise the bar when it comes to animal welfare standards.
By demonstrating a genuine commitment to ethical sourcing, New Zealand is not only meeting these expectations but also setting new benchmarks for industry practices.
Examples of such programmes can be found with all major processors of New Zealand sheep:
Alliance Group - ‘Farm Assurance Programme’ that is JAS-ANS/ISO65 accredited.
AFFCO Group - ‘Farm Assurance Programme’ that is accredited to ISO / IEC Guide 65, with 18-month audits.
Vibrant Animal Rights Sector
The New Zealand animal rights sector is thriving with passionate groups devoted to animals. They serve as advocates, shedding light on animal abuses and ensuring that both statutory bodies and corporations responsible for animal welfare are held accountable. Their dedication is a driving force in safeguarding the well-being of animals throughout the country.
The Five Domains vs The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare
The Five Freedoms Model of animal welfare, developed in the 1960s, has played a significant role in establishing evidence-based standards for animal welfare worldwide. These internationally recognised freedoms encompass essential elements: freedom from hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain and disease, the ability to express normal behaviour, and freedom from fear and distress.
The Five Domains Model of animal welfare, born and encouraged in New Zealand, expands on the Five Freedoms. While both models share the same elements, the Five Domains delve deeper into the mental well-being of animals, considering how they truly feel. It recognises that welfare encompasses both positive and negative experiences. The Five Domains essentially shine a spotlight on the emotional state of animals, acknowledging the importance of their mental health in ensuring their overall welfare.
We take pride in sourcing Australian Sheepskin from reputable suppliers who share our commitment to animal welfare and ethical sourcing practices. Australian sheep roam on green pastures and graze on those pastures in the same way their wild ancestors did, just as nature intended. By partnering with trusted suppliers who adhere to strict welfare guidelines, we can confidently offer high-quality sheepskin products that align with our values.
Our Australian Sheepskin suppliers recognise that animals are sentient beings and should experience positive health and wellbeing. So, as in New Zealand, they too are working on going beyond the Five Freedoms of animal welfare to the Five Domains of animal welfare. In this way, they provide enrichment specific to the animals to allow them to display the positive behaviours that support their wellbeing.
Our Australian suppliers value collaboration, working closely with the agricultural industry across different protein sectors, striving to find common ground. To enhance animal welfare, they consult with vets, academics, government representatives, trainers, The RSPCA, World Animal Protection, and Compassion in World Farming. With the guidance of FAI Farms Limited, esteemed global consultants in animal welfare and sustainability, they’re making significant progress.
Our Australian partners are also making clear goals and strides in their journey to leave a softer environmental footprint. They include:
· Setting goals that feature running on 100% renewable electricity by 2025 to help reduce emissions.
· With a focus on circular thinking and the power of partnerships, they’re driving change across their entire value chain to prevent edible food from going to waste. Instead, they’re collaborating with food rescue partners to redistribute it. Their admirable goal is to achieve zero food waste to landfill by 2025.
· Much like our New Zealand suppliers, addressing climate change is of critical importance to our Australian suppliers. That's why they’ve set a goal to surpass net zero emissions by 2050 (or earlier). The aim is to remove more emissions from the atmosphere than what is contributed. Strategies to achieve this will evolve over time.
· The Australian sheepskins that we source are a by-product of the food industry and we will never purchase any Australian sheepskins that are subject to mulesing.
Fibre by Auskin is dedicated to providing our customers with ethically-sourced materials while maintaining the exceptional quality of Australian sheepskin.