A GROUP of non-mulesed wool growers in drought-stricken New South Wales and Queensland have been given approval to restock with mulesed sheep without losing their Responsible Wool Standard status.
The wool growers are members of Fox & Lillie Rural’s Genesys RWS group, supplying non-mulesed wool under the standard for sale to
Textile Exchange’s RWS is a voluntary program that helps sheep farmers meet consumer, retailer, and brand demands. The standard certifies they meet rigorous animal welfare and land management requirements, including running a non-mulesed flock.
In more normal conditions under the RWS scheme, the acquisition of and production from mulesed sheep would constitute parallel production and be deemed non-compliant.
However, Genesys RWS certification standards co-ordinator Montanna Schollick has advised group members that with conditions improving in some areas following rain, some will be looking at buying in sheep to re-build their flocks.
“With limited non-mulesed sheep numbers available due to demand exceeding the available supply, we have worked with Textile Exchange to grant our Genesys members a derogation for restocking mulesed sheep whilst still being able to retain their RWS certification,” she said in a recent letter.
Any Genesys member restocking with mulesed sheep has been told that wool from mulesed sheep should be segregated at shearing and not be sold with RWS claims.
The restocking farm have to keep records of the number of mulesed and RWS sheep, and of the volume of mulesed and RWS wool from each shearing until such time that no more mulesed sheep remain on the farm.
In her letter to growers, Ms Schollick said at this stage the derogation is for New South Wales and Queensland growers only.
“Please note for growers based outside of the areas where the derogation has been granted, we can still apply for a separate derogation for you if you require one.”