PETA quotes Chick Olsson. Chick, representing the Australian Wool GrowersAssociation, was involved in the Industry Stakeholder meeting which supported theneed to continue the current practice of mulesing until it is phased out by 2010.
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RSPCA (Australia) states on its website that: “in particular geographical locations, where there is a high risk of flystrike and it has been established that there is absolutely noacceptable alternative to mulesing, the RSPCA considers mulesing anecessary means of eliminating or minimising the pain and sufferingcaused by flystrike.’ A leading rural newspaper in Australia, the Weekly Times, reported that RSPCA(Aust.) President, Hugh Wirth, said that PETA was dangerous and had undone a lotof the good work done by the RSPCA over many years. (Weekly Times, Jan. 19,2005, p.5).
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Deliberate cruelty to animals is totally unacceptable to sheepproducers. Flystrike inflicts pain, suffering and likely death to sheep.Once mulesed, the sheep has life-long protection against the horrificsuffering and likely death that breech flystrike can cause. “If left alone, blowflies in the hot Australian climate create open wounds that killsheep through infection.” Catherine Munro, The Sunday Age, 30 January 2005.Australian sheep and wool producers manage more than 100 million sheep. This is a365 day per year commitment, year in and year out, through good seasons and bad.No one knows more about animal welfare than a hands-on producer.It is plain common sense that sheep which are unhealthy or poorly managed willhave lesser quality wool. Only contented, well-cared for sheep produce quality wooland lambs every year.
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The industry did not say mulesing was like ‘skinning your knuckles’.But neither is mulesing ‘cutting chunks of flesh off lambs’ backsideswith gardening shears’ as untruthfully propagated by PETA.The study to which PETA refers (‘abnormal behaviours for up to 113 days’) actuallymeasured data only at the 35 day and 113 day mark and nothing in between. Lambsmay well have recovered on day 36 but that was not recorded.What PETA does not report is that the same stress measures indicate acute stressreactions in sheep during flystrike, which can persist for the duration of the infection.