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Beyond the Bale : Apr 07 - May 07
After mulesing his own sheep for more than 20 years, and with sound experience in the technique, WA woolgrower Max Watts was reluctant to attend a mulesing training and accreditation course. However, as a grower committed to good animal welfare practices and keen to keep up with the latest technology, he signed on. "I thought I could go on mulesing forever, but with the ever-increasing pressure of animal welfare issues, I now think a national standard for mulesing is vital," Max says. "I think it's imperative that we stay at the forefront rather than wait until the rug is pulled from under us." He says that although the accreditation process is an interim measure, mulesing to a national standard is an important step towards finding alternatives for breech blowfly control. "When mulesing is done correctly, it's extremely efficient," he says. "But the wool industry has given a commitment to go forward for the long-term viability and credibility of the industry. "With all conventional mulesing operators trained and assessed to a national standard, processors and retailers are assured that we are committed to best animal-welfare practices." Max and his wife Virginia run a self-replacing Merino flock and some prime lambs over the 2700 hectares of 'Gnaring Park', a wool, sheep and grain enterprise at Wandering, 90 minutes south-east of Perth. The Watts family has been in the area and the business of woolgrowing since 1859. As the Western Australian Farmers Federation wool section president, AWI shearer and woolhandler program advisory panel WA chair and now a National Mulesing Assurance Program (NMAP) committee member, Max has been closely involved with the implementation of the mulesing accreditation process. Growers who mules their own sheep have until the end of 2008 to gain accreditation with NMAP, and the first step is to obtain the free manual by calling the NMAP free phone number 1800 221 076. More than 650 contractors and growers who have completed the NMAP training and accreditation course over the past six months can attest to the importance of a national standard and the necessity of correct surgical procedures. "I was impressed with the way the workshop was conducted," Max says. "It included a mulesing demonstration, the setting and sharpening of shears, hygiene practices, the standard of cradles, pain relief, chemical application equipment, chemical safety procedures and documentation, and occupational health and safety." Max learnt new skills and approaches to mulesing that will translate into better animal recovery. "It's like most educational programs -- refresher courses ensure you stay on top of the tools and techniques." "NMAP has now taken all the previous good work done by the Livestock Contractors Association and the Kondinin Group in developing a full training course, to something that is cost-effective for woolgrowers who are owner- operators and still need to be accredited by the end of 2008." Details of contractors who have gained accreditation are available to woolgrowers by contacting NMAP on 1800 221 076, or on the NMAP website. Accredited growers and contractors are added to the NMAP database. ú Accreditation sceptic now an advocate Growers who mules their own sheep have until the end of 2008 to become accredited.WA grower Max Watts found the training a positive experience Max Watts, woolgrower from Wandering,WA. PHOTO: EVAN COLLIS Mulesing accreditation for woolgrowers Woolgrowers who mules their own sheep have until 31 December 2008 to achieve accreditation with the National Mulesing Assurance Program (NMAP). STEP 1 Contact NMAP on 1800 221 076 and register to receive the free mulesing training manual STEP 2 Review the manual and complete the technical quiz using the information provided in the manual (it is an open-book quiz, done in your own time, at your own pace). Submit your quiz answers by fax or post to NMAP. STEP 3 Receive confirmation of your quiz results from NMAP. STEP 4 Wait to be contacted by NMAP for practical assessment component details. STEP 5 Complete practical assessment and gain accreditation. The NMAP manual is free to all levy-paying woolgrowers.Woolgrowers who have undertaken training with the Kondinin Group in 2006 and have passed the assessment are already accredited.The cost for the practical assessment is yet to be finalised and will be advised by the accreditation contractors. More information: For mulesing training and accreditation enquiries contact NMAP, 1800 221 076, www.nmap.com.au 15 ANIMAL HEALTH BEYOND THE BALE
Jun 07 - Jul 07
Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement