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Beyond the Bale : Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement
By Kellie Penfold Photo by Matthew Cawood An initiative of AWI and peak grower group WoolProducers, the National Mulesing Assurance Program (NMAP) has proved a success with the industry and is now on the lookout for more participants. Although the wool industry has committed to cease the current mulesing practice by 2010 -- and research to find alternatives is well advanced -- it is essential that a comprehensive training and accreditation program is in place in the interim, says Robert Pietsch, WoolProducers president and chair of the NMAP management committee. "The wool industry has given a commitment to international retailers of woollen apparel to put in place an accreditation program, and it is also a requirement of the national code of practice for mulesing that was agreed to by state and federal governments last year," Mr Pietsch says. "We are being responsive to our customers, who first and foremost are the retailers. I have attended meetings in both New York and London with a number of key retailers who all said that the continued use of Australian wool was dependent on the industry finding alternatives to mulesing and putting in place a comprehensive training and accreditation program until then. "When you are in business you cannot afford to ignore a message from your customers as clear as that." Once a woolgrower or contractor commits to undertaking the training by contacting the NMAP office, they receive a kit in the mail that includes the NMAP training manual (see below) and a series of assessment questions, which participants complete and return. If 85 per cent of the questions are correctly answered, they proceed to stage two. Stage two is a one-day workshop, which involves half a day training followed by assessment by a qualified, independent assessor who super vises the entire mulesing process from preparation of equipment to the procedure and post-operative management. MAPPING THE FUTURE OF MULESING The National Mulesing Assurance Program was launched in early 2006 to provide livestock contractors and woolgrowers who mules sheep with access to the most up-to-date and 'best practice' techniques Class sizes are small, usually 12 or fewer, and are arranged according to demand in particular areas. At the end of 2006, more than 600 growers and contractors were accredited. The national code of practice for mulesing requires contractors to have been accredited by the end of 2006, while owner-operators must be accredited by the end of 2008. Therefore to date the focus has been more on getting contractors through the program, but from 2007 there will be an increased effort to attract growers who undertake their own mulesing. Mr Pietsch, who runs a woolgrowing property at Glen Innes in northern NSW and has many years' experience mulesing, says that even the most competent operator can benefit from accreditation, beyond just the contribution to keeping markets for Australian wool open. "The NMAP management group undertook an extensive process to make sure the manual and course content was just right in terms of ANIMAL WELFARE The first guides to sheep mulesing were published in the 1920s and 1930s, when John Hawkes William Mules recorded his pioneering work to improve the health and welfare of the Australian sheep. Since then, various materials of an advisory or extension nature have been prepared, but have never been collated into one manual. The sheep industry has welcomed the National Mulesing Accreditation Manual, now available free to all woolgrowers courtesy of AWI. The 91 pages of information were put together by Deniliquin-based Ian Evans, the NSW Department of Primary Industries' district livestock officer (sheep and wool), who is also the NSW sheep ectoparasite control coordinator. AWI funded development of the manual, published by Kondinin Group Industry Training in conjunction with the Livestock Contractors Association (LCA). The contents are broken into a summary, preparation and planning, mulesing equipment, Manual a handy mulesing tool chemical and animal health product use and mulesing procedures. "Advisory or extension material is a recent phenomenon, and many colleagues and former colleagues have produced material that conveys information about mulesing procedures," Mr Evans says. "Much of this work has partially, wholly or in concept, been used in the compilation of the manual. "I never considered preparing the manual as research -- it's more like a literature review, where I took a whole heap of slightly related pieces that have been around since the 1970s and put them together. I then had to fill in the gaps." Helping fill those gaps were the contractors, who Mr Evans says have worked closely with state agricultural departments over the years to improve practices and refine skills. "We wanted a manual that would be the foundation for learning about correct mulesing procedures: a series of building blocks that could be 6 BEYOND THE BALE BLOWFLY SUPPLEMENT
Apr 07 - May 07
Feb 07 - Mar 07