WOOL broker, grower and Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) director, Don Macdonald, would like the 'PR' (pain relief) terminology on National Wool Declarations (NWD) changed to 'AA' (anesthetic and/or analgesic).
Reporting on AWI investment of research, development, extension and marketing at last week's Macquarie Merino Lifetime Productivity Project field day at Trangie Agricultural Research Station, attended by more than 100 breeders and Merino enthusiasts, Mr Macdonald gave his opinion as a woolgrower and broker.
He said the pain relief terminology had similar connotations to prickle factor before it was changed to comfort factor.
"The AWI recognises the majority of the wool industry has embraced pain relief with mulesing as a crucial tool for lifetime welfare and some issues around this are coupled with the NWD, which currently only has 35 per cent of the flock showing as mulesing with pain relief," Mr Macdonald said.
"But studies have shown the figure is more like 80pc."
National figures show 70pc of the Australian wool clip is declared.
"So there is a big chunk of wool that's not declared at all," he said. "It would be easier to market the wool clip if we could get full grower adoption of the NWD."
Mr Macdonald said Australian Wool Exchange figures showed wool declared as PR as opposed to not declared wool, thus mulesed, was showing a premium of five to six cents a kilogram clean.
"So, in effect, you are being paid for the cost of the pain relief product.
"I personally would like to talk about full adoption rather than mandatory.
"I think it would be a help in the marketing of our clip if there was full adoption of declared wools and mulesed sheep with pain relief."
He said AWI's flystrike prevention strategy highlighted the importance of mulesing for the sustainability of the Australian wool industry because it remains the primary lifetime welfare tool for the management of sheep.