Mulesing pain relief urged

By Country News

A push to make pain relief mandatory when mulesing sheep has been welcomed by the VFF Livestock Group, which says it will help to achieve the highest animal welfare outcomes.

The push, which is being led by the Victorian Government, is the right move according to VFF Livestock Group president Leonard Vallance.

‘‘Mulesing remains the most effective method for controlling breech flystrike, a terribly painful and fatal affliction for sheep,’’ Mr Vallance said.

‘‘To deliver the best possible animal welfare outcomes, we have proactively advocated for mandatory pain relief when mulesing.

‘‘We received a strong indication from wool producers that they want to retain the ability to mules sheep, and that over 90 per cent of Victorian producers are already using pain relief when mulesing.

‘‘The VFF Livestock Council made a unanimous decision to lead the industry in mandating pain relief and the feedback we’ve received from our members, farmers and industry commentators has been extremely positive.’’

The draft regulation will be available for public consultation in August, and stipulates that any mulesing procedure on sheep must be accompanied by an approved pain relief medication.

‘‘We will be providing more information to our members in the coming weeks to prepare them for the regulatory change,’’ Mr Vallance said.

‘‘The development of the new regulation is an example of a productive relationship between industry and government to provide confidence in our industry and how we care for our animals.

‘‘This is a major step to further bolstering Victoria’s best-practice animal welfare.’’

Victoria is set to be the first Australian state to mandate pain relief for mulesing sheep.

The new regulation will be included in the review of the state’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The proposed regulation is set to become effective in December 2020, enabling producers to prepare for the new requirement.