Stock Handling & Animal Welfare

On-the-spot fines not on with new mulesing pain relief rules

Terry Sim June 29, 2020

VICTORIAN sheep producers will not be issued with ‘on-the-spot’ fines under new regulations that mandate pain relief for mulesing from Wednesday this week.

From 1 July 2020, if a person is mulesing sheep in Victoria, they must administer pain relief to those animals. This requirement is being introduced as part of the recent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulations 2019.

Agriculture Victoria said the person conducting the mulesing without pain relief may receive regulatory outcomes including a fine of $496 or up to $3304 if prosecuted in court.

However, Agriculture Victoria said any infringements may only be issued after an investigation is completed – not “on-the-spot”.

Each situation will be assessed for the most appropriate regulatory outcome, although multiple infringements can be issued if the non-compliant act is carried out on multiple occasions, the state government agricultural services division said.

An Agriculture Victoria spokesperson its officers will engage directly with sheep producers and farm workers to ensure compliance with the new requirements to administer pain relief when mulesing.

“Animal Health and Welfare Officers are authorised to enforce these new regulations and will assess each situation for the most appropriate outcome.

“This ranges from education to warning letters and fines, and prosecution.”

Agriculture Victoria said producers are legally required to keep records of agricultural and veterinary chemical products used on their farm, therefore full records of use of the registered pain relief products must be kept. Details of these requirements can be found at

Producers are encouraged to keep thorough records of their husbandry practices and pain relief product purchases, including receipt of purchase and any other relevant details or documentation. Producers should also speak with their veterinarian or farm consultant about the best pain relief option for their situation, Agriculture Victoria said.

Victorian lamb marking contractor and Livestock Contractors Association member John Latty said most contractors are already using pain relief when mulesing and most sheep producers request it be used. He has refused to mules for producers who don’t want pain relief used.

Sheep Central has been unable to clarify from the office of Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes nor Agriculture Victoria if the mulesing of multiple sheep without pain relief is one incident for the purposes of applying the penalties, what resources will be applied to enforce the regulations or whether contractors and the owner of sheep could both be liable for fines and prosecution.

VFF’s Stock Sense Pain webinar next week

Senior livestock specialist Dr Patrick Kluver

The Victorian Farmers’ Federation’s Stock Sense program is holding a free webinar on pain relief options for livestock, including sheep and cattle, on 9 July.

Stock Sense’s senior livestock project specialist Dr Patrick Kluver said leading cattle and sheep veterinarian, Dr Andrew Whale , will outline the range of different products available, and how and when to use them.

The ‘Pain Relief in Livestock’ webinar will be held from 8-9pm on Thursday 9 July 2020.

To register follow the link:


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