More than one million sheep supply Icebreaker with merino fibre. These hardy free-range merinos roam the mountains, grazing on pasture, and are given extra feed at times of year when the pasture grows slowly.
We pioneered the practice of signing contracts for our future fibre needs directly with high country merino growers. This gives growers the security of knowing they can plan their future fibre production ahead of time; in return, they agree to meet our strict animal welfare requirements.
These five non-negotiable requirements are:
- Freedom from thirst and hunger.
- Provision of appropriate comfort and shelter.
- Prevention of (or rapid diagnosis and treatment of) injury, disease or parasite infestation.
- Freedom from distress.
- The ability to display normal patterns of behaviour.
Our suppliers must also meet Icebreaker's standard of care of sheep dogs.
Merino sheep in some parts of the world are mulesed, which involves removing strips of skin around the tail to prevent flystrike. Icebreaker strictly prohibits mulesing in its contracts with growers.