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Australia: Support for end to painful mulesing

News Section Icon Published 11/04/2008

Mulesing is a painful operation which involves cutting away areas of wrinkled skin from sheep in order to prevent flies from landing on the sheep and laying their eggs in the folds of skin. This is called 'flystrike' in the farming industry.

The Australian Wool Industry has committed to end the practice of mulesing by the end of 2010, but meanwhile most Australian sheep may continue to be operated on before the deadline without anaesthetic.

Pain relief is available

The pain relieving drug TriSolfen is available now as part of the Better Choices programme for application to sheep after the operation.

Pain relief is also needed during the operation and this could be provided if the anti-inflammatory drug Carprofen is licensed for use in sheep. Research has shown that the combination of the two drugs would provide a far more effective reduction in stress and pain. Swift licensing for Carprofen is therefore vital to provide more effective relief from pain

Compassion in World Farming:

  • Urges the Australian Wool Industry to fulfil its commitment to end mulesing by the 2010 deadline
  • Welcomes the Better Choices initiative that promotes the use of pain relieving TriSolfen and requires farmers to breed animals who are less prone to flystrike
  • Urges the swift licensing of Carprofen for use in sheep to provide pain relief during the mulesing operation

"Compassion in World Farming is opposed to all mutilations of farm animals including mulesing. It should be unthinkable as well as unacceptable to conduct these operations without effective pain relief"

Phil Brooke, Welfare Development Manager for Compassion in World Farming.

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