NATIONAL producer body, the Australian Wool Growers Association, supports mandating pain relief when mulesing sheep in New South Wales, but rejects a proposed ban on the flystrike preventative practice in the state.
In its submission to an inquiry into a Bill before the New South Wales Parliament, AWGA said it strongly opposed banning mulesing, but supported mandating the use of pain relief for mulesing and other animal husbandry procedures.
NSW sheep producers have until 31 July to respond via an online survey , with the inquiry committee set to report by 24 September.
On 17 June 2020, the NSW Legislative Council’s Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Industry began an inquiry into the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Restrictions on Stock Animal Procedures) Bill 2019, put by Animal Justice Party MLC Mark Pearson.
Mr Pearson’s Bill proposes the mandating of pain relief for mulesing and other sheep surgical procedures in NSW and the banning of mulesing after 1 January 2022. More information about the inquiry, including the terms of reference, can be found on the committee’s website here.
The AWGA submission said a mulesing ban would have far-reaching and detrimental consequences for the Australian wool industry and for the health and welfare of millions of Australian sheep.
“Australia is one of the world’s largest quality wool producers.
“Banning an important procedure used by farmers to look after their sheep and their livelihoods would be devastating for farming communities in NSW,” the body said.
“NSW parliament should kindly consider amending the bill by striking out the first part of the bill to ban mulesing by 2022 totally.
“It then could be amended to mandate pain relief, as per the Victorian legislation,” the AWGA submission said.
“From July 1 of this year, pain relief has been mandatory in Victoria for mulesing.
“The new requirements have been well-received by Victorian farmers and we anticipate NSW farmers would respond with equal enthusiasm to promote best practice animal welfare outcomes,” AWGA said.
The association said any mandated pain management would also enhance the reputation of Australian sheep farmers in lucrative European fashion markets, but mulesing “must be allowed to continue to prevent flystrike in sheep and protect the lives of the sheep and the viability of wool growers’ operations throughout NSW.”
Click here to read the AWGA submission.