Mulesing hot topic at Wool Innovation debrief
THE wool industry has been warned it could be brought to “its knees” by mulesing.
Prominent NSW wool grower, Nigel Kerin, from Yeoval in Central West NSW, told the packed Australian Wool Innovation annual general meeting last week “the elephant in the room is still mulesing”.
However, AWI said it wasn’t its place to tell growers how to look after their sheep.
“I look at what will come from left field that will take prosperity we are now enjoying away from us,” Mr Kerin said.
“I read a statement from Henry Ford where he said if he had’ve asked the people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. And I see that as a great example of what we need to do in regards to mulesing.”
“We can’t listen to the reasons why we can’t stop.
“The reason I say this is it will be social media or one hour on a television show that will bring this industry to its knees overnight.
“It happened in the live cattle export (industry) … it destroyed families and that is my fear for the future of this industry.”
But AWI chair Colette Garnsey said while they were doing a lot of work in relation to flystrike, pain relief and genetics “we as a board believe in the growers’ rights and the growers’ choice to manage their flock the way
❝one It will be... hour on a television show that will bring this industry to its knees overnight. — Nigel Kerin
they choose and the way they see best”.
“This is a grower-owned company and that’s what our growers have told us they want,” Ms Garnsey said.
The VFF’s Leonard Vallance said “mulesing is a necessary evil” and that the problem needed to be dealt with. Mr Vallance said some “decent money” needed to be spent on flystrike prevention. AWI chief executive Stuart McCullough said he understood Mr Kerin was “approaching it from worry”.
“We know the pressures on animal welfare are going to become more profound in the future … but we do defend the right of wool growers to care for their animals the way they choose, and the way they choose is to keep them alive,” Mr McCullough said.
Mr McCullough said AWI’s role was not to tell anyone what to do, but “to undertake research and development projects”.
“The board is resolute in their view of budgeting for this (mulesing), and it’s certainly something which won’t get any sacrifice in terms of spend.”
SPEAKING OUT: NSW wool grower Nigel Kerin said the elephant in the room was still mulesing.