A petition calling for an end to mulesing will be tabled in NSW Parliament Upper House in the coming months.
The petition, which Animal Justice Party MP Mark Pearson will table, has received more than 1500 signatures to date, surpassing the 500 needed in the NSW Legislative Council.
It calls for a complete phase-out of mulesing by 2030, recognising breeding-out wrinkly skin can take time for some producers. The petition also includes calls for mandatory pain relief during tail docking, castration and mulesing.
NSW Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party, Mark Pearson, said despite empty promises about change, mulesing remains the status quo.
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"Left to regulate itself, the industry clearly won't change, and that's why we need legislation to commit to a ban on mulesing.'
"The world is now looking in Australia's backyard. Our nation must ban this cruelty or be left behind socially and economically," Mr Pearson said.
The Animal Justice Party tabled legislation in the NSW Upper House in 2019, calling for the banning of mulesing by 2022, but it was defeated.
NSW Farmers president James Jackson said NSW Farmers believed it is in sheep's welfare interests to continue using mulesing with pain relief, though some sheep did not need to be mulesed in some environments.
"NSW Farmers strongly recommend pain relief, but we don't want it mandated, it is better done through market mechanisms," he said.
"There is a premium for non-mulesed wool in the marketplace in some micron categories.
"I'm certainly concerned that chasing these margins will compromise farm animal welfare.
"Mulesing is a very effective tool to mitigate flies."
Mr Jackson said if the industry could breed sheep that needed a smaller mules, some of the low-wrinkled sheep really only needed a tail strip at most.
Flystrike costs the Australian sheep and wool industry over $200 million per year in lost production and sheep mortalities, NSW Agriculture Minister, Dugald Saunders said.
Mr Saunders said advances in genetic breeding and mulesing significantly reduce the risk of flystrike occurring, alongside the annual use of fly prevention products.
"The ceasing of mulesing will result in a significant increase in flystrike, infection and mortality in sheep. The wool industry is already taking steps to prevent flystrike and phase out the practice of mulesing," he said.
"Industry continues to make significant investments in animal health and welfare, with an aim of finding effective measures to prevent flystrike, which can be fatal if untreated.
"The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (POCTA) and its supporting regulations, codes, standards and guidelines, set out the required animal welfare requirements in NSW. Under POCTAA, husbandry procedures such as mulesing must be carried out within defined age limits in a manner that inflicts no unnecessary pain upon the animal."
In addition, the Sheep Standards and Guidelines state that where mulesing is performed, it is best practice for lambs to be mulesed between two and 12 weeks old, accompanied by pain relief where practical and cost-effective methods are available.
The NSW Government will continue to support the industry to promote best practice animal husbandry use alongside identifying new technology and techniques to reduce the impact of flystrike on the industry."
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