RSPCA Australia has welcomed a new funding commitment from the wool industry for initiatives aimed at breeding flystrike-resistant sheep—a move that will help eliminate the need for painful procedures such as mulesing.
The $950,000 funding boost was announced this week by Australian Wool Innovation, the not-for-profit research and development arm of the wool industry.
“The RSPCA has long argued that breeding plainer bodied, flystrike-resistant sheep that don’t need to be mulesed is the only way to address this issue,” RSPCA Australia senior scientific officer Melina Tensen said.
“It’s positive to see the industry recognise this and we welcome the news of additional funding. Mulesing is simply not defensible in the long term, especially when breeding flystrike-resistant sheep is a viable option.”
Consumers are also becoming more aware of the animal welfare issues with mulesing, and many fashion brands both in Australia and overseas are steadily moving away from sourcing wool from mulesed sheep.
“We know there are wool growers who need help to understand and implement the genetic tools available to them in order to breed plainer bodied, flystrike-resistant sheep,” Tensen said.
“This support from Australian Wool Innovation will assist them with that. We welcome this new commitment and look forward to continuing to work with the industry to encourage a phase out of mulesing as soon as possible.”