VICTORIAN sheep producers preparing for the introduction of new mulesing pain relief regulations next month can attend a free webinar on management practices next week.
Mackinnon Project senior consultant Dr John Webb-Ware will conduct the webinar on Thursday, 25 June for the Victorian Farmers Federation’s Stock Sense division.
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is encouraging all sheep farmers to be aware of mandatory pain relief regulations for sheep mulesing which comes into effect from 1 July 2020.
From 1 July 2020, if a person is mulesing sheep in Victoria, they must administer a registered pain relief product or risk an on-the spot fine of $496 or a court-imposed penalty of up to $3304. The requirement is part of the new Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act Regulations 2019.
Producers are also legally required to keep records of agricultural and veterinary chemical product(s) used on their farm, including full records of use of the registered pain relief product(s). Details of these requirements can be found here.
Dr Webb-Ware said the webinar will outline the new mulesing pain relief regulations and requirements. The webinar is not taking a position on whether producers should mules or not, but he said the main thrust of the webinar — ‘Mulesing 2020 and beyond: What is the future of breech strike control?’ – will be on how to manage a non-mulesed flock. This will include sheep selection and the timing of activities, especially shearing and crutching.
“That is particularly relevant in high rainfall areas, because of the extra dag issue.
“It’s our experience is that you can manage it, but you’ve got to be really on the ball with your shearing, crutching, worm control and fly prevention.”
Mandatory pain relief is a positive step – Vallance
VFF Livestock Group president Leonard Vallance said the VFF has been advocating strongly for the regulations to be introduced to deliver the best possible animal welfare outcomes and cost benefits for farmers.
“The VFF has been pushing for mandatory pain relief when mulesing and sees it as a positive step towards strengthening Victoria’s best-practice animal welfare regulations.
“Mulesing with pain relief continues to be an acceptable method of mitigating the effects of fly strike whilst the industry funds research into alternate tools that can be used to achieve a similar result,” he said.
The impending regulations will mean a pain relief product registered for use by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority must be administered to sheep from next month.
“From July 1st Victorian sheep farmers must ensure they administer pain relief when mulesing sheep.
“Over ninety percent of Victorian sheep farmers are already using pain relief when mulesing, but these new regulations mean it will be mandatory for all farmers from next month,” Mr Vallance said.