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All News Updates & Public Comment => Other (non-export) News => : WA Export News August 01, 2008, 04:42:04 PM

: Does grandson of a mulesing pioneer admit mulesing doesnt stop flystrike?
: WA Export News August 01, 2008, 04:42:04 PM
Mulesing man not sentimental about the practice

Friday, 01/08/2008

The grandson of a mulesing pioneer says he isn't disappointed about the phase-out of the practice.

Former Broken Hill grazier, Peter Bevan, says his father and grandfather worked for J.H. Mules when the technique for stopping flystrike in sheep was being introduced across Australia.

Despite his family history with mulesing, Mr Bevan says he isn't sentimental about getting rid of it.

"I'm not actually, nobody would want to mules a sheep if they could possibly not do it," he says.

"It's a terrible darn job, it's messy, obviously painful to the lamb naturally.

"If you think back to the really bad blowfly days, you could have mulesed the sheep all over, from nose to tail and they'd probably still had got fly-blown." (
: Re: Does grandson of a mulesing pioneer admit mulesing doesnt stop flystrike?
: Export News Tasmania March 18, 2009, 10:41:37 PM
This of course highlights the fact that there is no possible excuse for the wholesale mulesing of all sheep, since not all sheep will get flystruck, flystrike does not only attack in the breech area, and plenty of mulesed sheep die of flystrike. It is an excuse for lazy farmers who have more sheep than they are willing or able to properly care for.
: Re: Does grandson of a mulesing pioneer admit mulesing doesnt stop flystrike?
: Export News Tasmania March 18, 2009, 10:43:15 PM
Posted to us from a correspondent in Victoria:-

Peter Bevan what you say is absolutely true. Mulesing does not stop flystrike and has just been used as an attempt at labour saving and an excuse for farmers to keep so many sheep (thousands) that they cannot possibly monitor them effectively. Many, many mulesed sheep die of flystrike because mulesing only prevents a proportion of breach strike and does nothing to reduce body strike which is extremely common in many sheep breeds, especially merinos. Because flystrike is easily treatable in its early stages, deaths from flystrike are completely preventable. Leaving a flystruck sheep untreated to die a slow tortuous death amounts to aggravated cruelty and should be treated as such by the authorities. Yet sheep in Australia continue to die in their millions from this affliction because these ‘losses’ are accepted and factored in by the industry. The DPI, which is supposed to police animal welfare on farms, takes no action at all to hold farmers accountable for this neglect. Their attitude is that it is inevitable that farmers will leave flystruck sheep to die and that it is unreasonable to expect farmers to check all their sheep and treat individuals.

To prevent flystrike deaths (and the horrendous suffering it causes), every sheep must be checked at least every second day in fly season and effected animals treated immediately before any damage is done. Therefore good facilities for handling sheep are essential, yet we see that most large sheep paddocks (perhaps hundreds of hectares) do not contain facilities such as yards, and many farms are not set up to enable close monitoring of large numbers of sheep. On particularly poorly managed properties such as the one at Smeaton (YouTube) the animals are inaccessible due to rough country and poor fencing and are therefore terribly neglected. The DPI should take responsibility for ensuring farms are well set up and that preventative measures such as frequent crutching, parasite control and chemical application are adequate. Farmers not prepared to put in the effort should exit the industry. The DPI should also acknowledge the extent of flystrike in this country and start to regard it as a huge animal welfare as well as an economic issue. Consumers of sheep products should be aware that sheep, especially merinos, are poorly adapted to this country and suffer greatly in this environment.

: Re: Does grandson of a mulesing pioneer admit mulesing doesnt stop flystrike?
: Sandra John May 19, 2009, 09:23:02 PM
You are right.  The only way to prevent / manage flystrike in sheep is careful management (including frequent crutching).  As to leaving flystruck sheep to die!  That makes a cruel mockery of the pro-mulsing argument doesn't it?