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Beyond the Bale : March 2011
31 March 2011 BEYOND THE BALE ON-FARM 4. WOOLGROWER AND INDUSTRY EDUCATION AND TRAINING Extension and training programs have been developed to promote the adoption of new practices and technologies. NATIONAL MULESING ACCREDITATION PROGRAM (NMAP) TRAINING • A training program was developed in 2005 to ensure those conducting the surgical mulesing procedure are using industry best practice. WOOLGROWER SEMINARS AND UPDATES HELD NATIONWIDE • Case studies, seminars and workshops have been presented to woolgrowers and many of the presentations are on the AWI website. • Every second year an R&D technical update event is held. VOLUME OF WOOL • Australia produces 95 per cent of the world's production of fine apparel wool under 19 micron. • Australia is the largest producer of NM (non-mulesed), CM (ceased mulesing) and PR (pain relief) fine apparel wool. The volume is greater than the combined fine apparel wool (<19 micron) production of Argentina, New Zealand, Uruguay and South Africa. • The proportion of wool declared as NM, CM or PR through the National Wool Declaration (NWD) continues to increase. This increase is important for retailers and brands wishing to source wools suitable to their requirements. 5. INTERNATIONAL SUPPLY CHAIN TRAINING AND COMMUNICATIONS Since 2004, AWI has worked very closely with international retailers and brands to inform them of the progress of AWI's R&D into flystrike prevention. REPORTING • Formal quarterly reporting requirements are made to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the National Retail Foundation (NRF) and technical information and advice provided to individual retailers and brands as requested. • This close and productive relationship has also involved ongoing and regular discussions on a range of related production, animal welfare and corporate social responsibility issues. • AWI will continue to regularly report RD&E progress to international retailers and brands. VISITS TO AUSTRALIA • AWI has organised and hosted visits by many international retailers and brands to Australia. These visits have without exception provided them with a greater understanding of the issues involved and the significant progress made in the RD&E program. VISITS TO RETAILERS • AWI has made regular visits to retailers and brands in the US, UK and other key markets. Flystrike remains a significant risk to the health and welfare of sheep in Australia. It is for this reason that AWI will continue to fund research to find viable alternatives to surgical mulesing and is committed to the following principles: 1. Pursuing targeted RD&E and extension to help woolgrowers manage flystrike risk in their sheep without mulesing, through breeding and/or use of alternative management or breech modification strategies. This is likely to see an increasing number of woolgrowers able to successfully manage their sheep without the procedure over time, with growing volumes of non-mulesed (NM) and ceased mulesing (CM) wool in the marketplace. 2. Supporting welfare improvements to the procedure wherever it is still undertaken in the meantime. 3. Supporting differentiation and choice in the marketplace via the National Wool Declaration (NWD) and assisting supply chain and retail partners source wool that meets their requirements. 4. Engaging with stakeholders, partners and the community to educate, inform, monitor and report on progress. It is imperative that stakeholders, partners and the community have a well informed understanding of the issue and realistic expectations. 5. Providing science in support of policy decisions at national and international level to ensure the welfare of the animals and protect and enhance market access. 6. Promoting the wider industry efforts and progress to address welfare concerns and engender trust and confidence in the Australian wool industry. In 2009 AWI established the Animal Welfare Forum, a group comprising animal welfare organisations, researchers whom AWI engage regularly, and animal rights groups. Members of this group include RSPCA Australia, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), researchers from CSIRO and Melbourne and Sydney universities, Animals Australia, Compassion in World Farming, and Animal Liberation. This forum has allowed for a robust and open dialogue on animal welfare issues related to breech flystrike. Commitment to animal welfare Visit www.wool.com/flystrike for more information.