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Johnstons of Elgin Sustainable Initiatives - Animal Welfare

SUSTAINABILITY
ANIMAL WELFARE FIBRE


Johnstons of Elgin Sustainable Initiatives - Animal Welfare
AT JOHNSTONS OF ELGIN, WE ARE PROUD TO WORK WITH MANY DIFFERENT NATURAL FIBRES, INCLUDING VICUNA, CASHMERE AND WOOL, AND WE ARE COMMITTED TO ENSURING THE WELFARE OF THE ANIMALS AT THEIR SOURCE.

Two centuries ago, our very first products included woollen ‘scouring’ blankets made using the fleece of local sheep, sold to our local hospital in Elgin. Today, the fibres we use are among the world's finest, sourced from Australia, Afghanistan, China, Mongolia and Peru. Most of our products are made from fibre we have bought ourselves, and we are working to move all our fibre purchases to animal welfare certified sources. We also buy yarn from other specialist yarn suppliers in Europe. Where this is the case, we will be encouraging those suppliers to adopt the same or equivalent standards.

CASHMERE GOATS

In Mongolia, the traditional nomadic herding techniques associated with Cashmere goats centre on genuine love and respect for the animals. Free-roaming animals enjoy vast expanses of land and rolling plateaus, and dedicated herders strategically move their animals, homes and families, season after season.

In the Inner Mongolia region of China, cashmere goats are now normally kept on large farms. These animals are still allowed to range over very large distances compared to farms in other parts of the world.

To provide increased confidence that animal welfare has been prioritised in our cashmere production, we are moving to buy our cashmere from sources certified by the Sustainable Fibre Alliance. We made our first purchases of SFA certified cashmere during a pilot program in 2020 and, as capacity increases, we will increase our purchases from certified sources. In 2021 we aim to purchase 25% of our fibre from SFA certified sources.

Goat grazing
Herder feeding goat

MEET THE HERDERS

Johnstons of Elgin is a founding member of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA), a non-profit organisation working with the extended Cashmere supply chain from herders to retailers. The SFA works with communities in Mongolia to provide training, restore grassland and help ensure animal welfare. Here, we invite you to meet the herders and gain an insight into life in the Mongolian mountains.

STARTING OUT

Animal welfare is of the utmost importance to the herders. Herder Buyandelger explains, ‘Herds grow when there is love and respect.’

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Experienced herder Khandsuren enjoys the dairy farming aspect of her job and always makes time for a bit of self-care.

GONCHIG'S DREAM

Twelve-year-old Gonchig dreams of becoming a herder and a racehorse trainer. He shares a special relationship with his herder Grandmother.

GROWING FAMILY

Cashmere production is a family business, but children are encouraged to fulfil their studies before deciding to follow in their parent’s footsteps.

HERDERS AND THEIR HORSES

Horses are an essential part of life here – 'nature provides'.

KHANDSUREN AND HER KIDS

Children are given animals to care for from a young age, to teach them compassion.

MERINO SHEEP

We share a long history with the softest, highest quality Australian merino wool. The first merino sheep were introduced to Australia in 1797, the same year Johnstons of Elgin was established. We continue to support the Australian merino-growing industry, helping to maintain the economy in an area where the land is best suited to this use. As merino sheep produce and shed a new fleece every year, it is very much part of a natural life cycle.

Johnstons of Elgin wool
Johnstons of Elgin Sustainable Initiatives

RESPONSIBLE SOURCING

It is our intention to only source Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) certified wool going forward. The RWS is a voluntary global standard that addresses sheep's welfare and the land they graze on. RWS certification provides complete traceability of wool. It confirms that farms follow land management methods to protect soil health and biodiversity and practice holistic respect for the sheep's welfare.

MULESING

The practise of mulesing has attracted much publicity. While mulesing can be avoided in some regions, in others, it is the best defence against blowfly infestations which would otherwise cause severe pain and even death in sheep. Since 2019 we have only bought wool from non-mulesed flocks or where mulesing happens with appropriate pain relief. From 2021, our move to buying only RWS certified wool means that all of the wool fibre we buy is now non-mulesed.

Johnstons of Elgin Sustainable Initiatives

THE FIVE FREEDOMS OF SHEEP

The Five Freedoms are devised and upheld by leading animal welfare organisations, including The Royal Society of Protection of Cruelty to Animals and the Chief Veterinary Officer in the UK and worldwide. The Campaign for Wool also supports them. The five freedoms are:

  1. GOOD LIFESTYLE
    Freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour, sufficient space, suitable facilities and the company of its fellow sheep.
  2. GOOD ENVIRONMENT
    Freedom from discomfort through shelter and provision of a comfortable environment.
  3. GOOD NUTRITION
    Freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition.
  4. GOOD HANDLING
    Freedom from fear through good care and handling.
  5. GOOD HEALTH
    Freedom from pain, injury and disease.

You can visit the SFA website here and the RSW website here to learn more about the organisations and their commitment to animal welfare.

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