WOOL producers and shearing contractors have reacted to an increasing focus on sheep welfare by releasing a shed poster promoting humane handling of sheep.
In a joint wool industry initiative, the Shearing Contractors Association of Australia, the WA Shearing Industry Association, Australian Wool Innovation and WoolProducers Australia have developed a woolshed poster to help champion higher standards in woolsheds across Australia.
The free A2 size poster promotes humane handling of sheep, immediate attention to shearing injuries and informs readers that cruelty to sheep will not be tolerated.
The poster’s proponents said it is designed to be placed in a prominent position in all shearing sheds, to remind wool growers and wool harvesters of their joint responsibilities and expectations to achieve a safe and effective workplace, and to treat sheep humanely at all times.
The points outlined on the poster complement relevant state laws regarding animal welfare, workplace health and safety and the prohibition of drug use.
WPA president Richard Halliday said the bodies had taken the shared responsibility approach because one part of the system can’t exist without the others.
“Shearing teams need jobs to go to, wool growers need good shearing teams, and without productive healthy livestock, none of us are in business.
“We want to support a safe and healthy workplace as it has positive effects for shearers and sheep.”
SCAA president Mick Schofield said communication between wool grower and shearer or shearing contractor is really important.
“Clarify what is expected in the shed amongst yourselves by talking about the points that are raised on the poster.
“There are other legal obligations for health and safety and welfare, the poster will get you thinking about them and talking about them.”
‘Bad apples’ can spoil industry reputation
WASIA president Darren Spencer said it is important that shearing contractors and growers work together on practical ways that we can support sheep welfare and worker safety.
“Its common sense really, and there are no surprises in the poster – it can be a good talking point for shed safety when the shed begins.
“Making it clear that any type of animal abuse won’t be tolerated – the smallest number of ‘bad apples’ in the sector can bring down the reputation of the entire industry.”
Training promotes quality work
Through their wool research, development and marketing body Australian Wool Innovation, woolgrowers invest over $2 million annually training over 3000 shearers and shedhands.
Surveys have shown 79% of those trained have recorded an improved quality of work.
The poster is available free in the March edition of AWI’s Beyond the Bale and is also available by contacting the WA Shearing Industry Association on [email protected], the Shearing Contractors’ Association of Australia on [email protected] and WoolProducers Australia on [email protected]
Click here to see the new wool shed poster.
Source: WoolProducers Australia