NSW Farmers claims a push to ban the surgical mulesing of sheep could lead to an increased dependency on trade-sensitive chemical.
The association is resisting a push to ban mulesing and to mandate pain relief for other routine animal husbandry procedures through a proposed amendment to the Prvention of Cruelty to Animals Act in the state.
The POCTA Bill was introduced by the Animal Justice Party to State Parliament late last year.
NSW Farmers’ president James Jackson said the push to ban mulesing is counter to achieving positive animal welfare outcomes.
“Mulesing is an effective fly-strike mitigation tool, so it needs to be maintained for the sake of animal welfare.
“Banning mulesing would expose millions of sheep to the risk of flystrike, which is a substantially worse welfare outcome,” he said.
“With wool grown in many different climatic conditions across NSW, no one flystrike mitigation approach can be uniformly applied.
For many producers in NSW, mulesing is a key mitigation measure,” he said.
“There is a real danger that banning mulesing could lead to increased dependency on trade-sensitive chemical treatments.
“Greater use of these chemicals also creates the risk of flies becoming more quickly resistant to insecticides, which would lead to sub-optimal fly strike mitigation,” Mr Jackson said.
“NSW Farmers supports the mandatory use of pain relief during mulesing through an industry led-initiative. We don’t support mandating pain-relief through government regulation.”
Mr Jackson said that this bill is pushing for sweeping reforms that would impact on all livestock industries.
“The bill seeks to mandate pain relief for a range of routine husbandry procedures, including earmarking, ear-tagging, branding, castration, de-horning, and tail docking,” Mr Jackson said.
“This would mean significant changes for all livestock industries and these reforms are better driven by industry. Increased industry uptake of pain relief is already occurring, as more products become available and as husbandry practices evolve.
“Farmers need to vocalise their opposition to this bill that seeks to create sweeping reforms.”
NSW Farmers has outlined its position in a submission into the Upper House inquiry on the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Restrictions on Stock Animals Procedure) Bill 2019, and will be appearing before a hearing next Tuesday, 11 August to reiterate its key arguments. NSW Farmers have also encouraged members to provide their own submission via the Parliamentary survey on the Bill.