17 March 2006

Contact:

Paula Hough +1 757-622-7382, ext 8283; PaulaH@fsap.org

Erin Edwards +1 757-622-7382, ext 8293; ErinE@peta.org

HIGH COURT SLAPS AWI WITH $48,000 BILL – PAYABLE TO PETA PRESIDENT

PETA Chief Will Apply Proceeds From Strikeout Claim to Fight Lamb Mulesing and Live-Sheep Exports

Sydney – In the latest backfire in its lawsuit seeking to stop PETA’s international campaign against the Australian wool industry’s cruel practices of mulesing lambs and exporting live sheep, Australian Wool Innovation has been dealt yet another setback by the Federal Court of Australia – this one to the tune of $48,124.50. The sum, which AWI will pay to PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, was arrived at after AWI was ordered to pay all costs for Newkirk’s successful March 2005 motion to strike out AWI’s original claim against her in its entirety. Newkirk has stated she intends to use the money to draw public attention to AWI’s failure to stop lamb and sheep abuse in the wool trade.

Just last month, after the court struck out two of AWI’s claims, AWI dropped the two key components of its lawsuit against PETA, reportedly costing AWI millions of dollars. AWI revised its statement of claim by deleting the baseless claims that PETA’s campaign constitutes a "conspiracy" and a hindrance to international trade. AWI has since dropped similar allegations against the other respondents – Animal Liberation of New South Wales, PETA itself and several PETA staff members.

PETA declared an international boycott of Australian wool in October 2004 and has already won the positive response of prestigious US retailers American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Timberland and Limited Brands and UK-based mega-chains New Look and George. India’s Mohini Knitwares and seven top designers in India – a major importer of Australian wool – as well as Pakistan’s Bonanza Garments have also pledged not to use the cruelly obtained product. US-based giant SmartWool struck a seven-year deal worth US$30 million to buy New Zealand merino wool from farmers who ended mulesing by the end of 2005.

"It’s great to see AWI members’ money now being used to fight the despicable treatment of lambs and sheep", says Newkirk. "If these people put one-tenth of the time, effort and funds going into this money pit of a lawsuit into animal welfare instead, farmers and sheep would all be better off."

For more information, please visit PETA’s Web site SaveTheSheep.com.