Inquiry into the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Bill

mulesing sheep

The New South Wales government has established an inquiry into the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Restrictions on Stock Animal Procedures) Bill 2019. If passed, it would stop mulesing by 2022, and in the meantime, ensure sheep and other animals are given pain relief during procedures such as, earmarking, branding, castration, dehorning, and tail-docking.

We need your help to make sure this bill is passed. Individuals are invited to comment on the bill here.

CONSULTATION CLOSED

If you aren’t sure how to answer the questions, we have written a suggestion below. Your submission will have more of an impact if you alter the text.

prevention of cruelty stop mulesing sheep
A lamb that has been mulesed.

All you have to do is click here and copy and paste the answers from 3 and 4 below.

1. Please enter your contact details.

Type your name, email, and postcode.

2. What is your position on the bill?

Please select “Support”.

3. In relation to the previous question, please explain your position on the bill. (max 500 words)

I support the proposed bill, as it intends to phase out the cruel, painful, and outdated procedure of “mulesing”, and finally adds the requirement of providing pain relief to animals for certain procedures.

Australia is the last country in the world to continue mulesing, the mutilation of lambs to prevent parasitic infection known as “flystrike”. Mulesing involves cutting the flaps of skin and muscle, from a lamb’s breech, with a hot blade or sharp knife. The lambs are restrained and are often not given any pain relief. Studies have found that the pain can last from 48 hours to several weeks. Observations show most lambs socialise less, lose weight in the first two weeks, and exhibit behaviours that indicate pain, such as hunched standing, reduced feeding, and a reluctance to lay down. It can affect their gait and growth for up to three weeks post-procedure. Lambs also actively avoid humans, particularly the person who carried out the procedure, for up to 5 weeks post-mulesing. The wound takes 5-7 weeks to heal. During this time, the open wound is prone to flystrike and infections – the exact opposite of what it is trying to achieve.

Many consumers are outraged with this practice and are placing pressure on brands to withdraw support for practices and products the cause cruelty to animals. As a result, major stores, brands, and groups, such as Kmart, Target, H&M, Adidas, and Woolworths Australiasia, have already phased out or have committed to phasing out the use of mulesed wool in their clothing. This initiative shows that there is pressure on the Australian wool industry to phase out the practice entirely.

Despite claims of high animal welfare, Australian animals can currently be de-beaked, de-horned or disbudded, castrated, branded, have their teeth clipped, and tails and ears cut, without pain relief. There is a range of clear scientific evidence that proves animals are sentient beings with complex thoughts, feelings, and emotions. They experience pain in a similar manner to humans. To minimise an animals pain and discomfort, they must be given analgesic or another form of pain relief before and after any procedure.

As Australians are becoming more vocal about the treatment of animals and demanding transparency from the various industries, this legislation is completely necessary. Mulesing is an outdated, barbaric practice that has no place in farming. Although I wish to see an end to all mutilation practices, as a minimum, animals need to receive a form of pain relief before they are subjected to such procedures. This legislation is also necessary to keep up with international animal welfare standards and consumer demands.

4. Do you have any other comments on the bill (max 250 words).

The proposed Bill should provide detailed and explicit clarification on what procedures involving farmed animals will require pain relief. As it currently stands, there is not enough information to know what will and will not require pain relief. I firmly believe that all procedures must require pain relief – not only undescribed “certain” procedures, as stated in the Bill. Animals should also be given ongoing pain relief treatment during and up to the end of the healing process.