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Beyond the Bale : Feb 07 - Mar 07 Supplement
ANIMAL WELFARE NMAP chairman Robert Pietsch on his Glen Innes property: "Everyone I have spoken to has said they have gained something from the course." content and usability, which has led to very good feedback from participants," he says. "Everyone I have spoken to has said they have gained something from the course, from how to sharpen or set their shears right, through to considering different post-operative management strategies. Even some of the little tips gained from the course can make the job so much easier and less stressful for both operators and livestock." Mr Pietsch also suggests that even woolgrowers who rely on contractors for mulesing should register to receive the manual, which is supplied free. "The manual is a handy tool to have as a reference even if you are not undertaking the used as a reference point whenever a contractor or producer came across a different or challenging situation. "The section on grinding, setting and sharpening shears is virtually completely new. In this area I particularly wanted to capture the expertise and knowledge of LCA's chief mulesing instructor Gordon Godson. Gordon has been -- and continues to be -- extremely generous in sharing this with the sheep industry, and I wanted to make sure that a permanent record of this vital area of knowledge and skills was recorded for posterity." The manual forms the technical basis of the National Mulesing Assurance Program (NMAP), the initiative of the Australian wool industry to meet its commitment to the application of best practice in mulesing. Stage one of NMAP accreditation requires the candidate to pass a written test. Stage two of accreditation requires the candidate to demonstrate practical competence in mulesing. The manual contains the information for a candidate to commence NMAP accreditation and to meet the welfare standards stipulated in the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: the Sheep. The emphasis in the manual, as in the practical assessment, is on avoiding removing bare skin, not damaging the selvage (fascia membrane covering the muscle), strict hygiene, ensuring symmetry of the mules and correct maintenance and sharpness of equipment. Mr Evans says attention to these areas will ensure mulesing is carried out to the highest possible standard, minimising stress to the animals, optimising hygiene and providing better protection against breech strike. In addition, the manual contains much useful information about related procedures such as tail docking and vaccination -- which, while not required knowledge under the NMAP, will help woolgrowers and contractors obtain the best results when undertaking these procedures. About 90 per cent of Merino sheep in Australia are mulesed and most sheep owners are aware of the benefits of mulesing, which include: ú lifelong insurance against breech strike; ú improved welfare of sheep throughout their lives; ú reduced shearing cuts and damage to ewes; ú increased ease of crutching and shearing; ú increased productivity; ú reduced stain in wool; and ú improved economic sheep values. "What happens in the industry come 1 January 2010 is yet to be decided," Mr Evans says. "In the meantime, correct and safe mulesing of sheep contributes greatly to these animals experiencing a long and healthy life." -- KELLIE PENFOLD More information: to receive a copy of the National Mulesing Accreditation Manual, or to register for NMAP, call 1800 221 076 "We wanted a manual that would be the foundation for learning about correct mulesing procedures: a series of building blocks that could be used as a reference point whenever a contractor or producer came across a different or challenging situation." -- Ian Evans operation yourself. It will help you understand what the best-practice techniques are that your contractors or staff should be using. "It's about having sheep mulesed correctly by people who are highly skilled and are accredited to do so; there are very few industries these days which operate without some kind of accreditation, especially such a specialised procedure as mulesing." But most importantly, concludes Mr Pietsch, the NMAP will contribute to improved animal welfare, which ultimately leads to increased productivity. "Maintaining market access and meeting the requirements of government codes are essential, but at the end of the day we are in the business of wool production and this cannot be done successfully or profitably without the highest standard of animal welfare practices." ú More information: www.nmap.com.au; to register for accreditation, or receive a copy of the manual, call 1800 221 076 BLOWFLY SUPPLEMENT BEYOND THE BALE 7
Apr 07 - May 07
Feb 07 - Mar 07