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Australian Wool Farmers ‘Strike’ Again

Written by PETA | January 7, 2009

Australian wool farmers are very fond of the myth that the mulesing mutilation (cutting the rump flesh off completely conscious lambs) is the most effective way to prevent flystrike, but we know it’s only done because it’s cheaper than more humane methods of controlling the affliction. These photos, recently taken on a paddock in Victoria, show several sheep suffering from absolute misery, severe neglect and flystrike, despite the fact that some had been mulesed! Yeah. Those farmers sure do care.



Many sheep found on this paddock had such severe cases of flystrike or were so starved or otherwise neglected that they required emergency treatment provided by caring civilians. Some were suffering so badly that they had to be euthanized immediately. Fortunately, an Australian animal rights activist has called for an intervention by the local authorities and has submitted this formal complaint (So far there’s been no response yet.)

Australian farmers get away with cutting lambs open and leaving them to be eaten alive by maggots under the pretext of keeping them healthy. Does that sound wrong to anyone else? Please help stop this cruelty by boycotting Australian wool and informing the farmers that mulesing is wrong.

Written by Lianne Turner

Commenting is closed.
  • At.Venter says:

    Our firm spesilisd in this tipe of illnes by sheep can somebody tell me who”s the contact persone in Australia We can help.

  • Babs says:

    PS at least someone like Rhiannon has the guts to go out and do some proper research well done!!! and to the person called “I”if you have actually seen a real sheep you might appreciate that their skin is much looser than humans and as so it is possible to seperate the epidermis layer from the muscle. and your comment about “sheep not allowed to live ater wool production delcines” is not true. We are fine wool producers when the sheep get to between 68 years old the wool’s micron increases so we sell the sheep to farmers often in western NSW where they contuniue on living for several more years still producing wool. By this age the sheep are reaching the end of their naturally lifespan anyways. on many stud farms good ewes can be kept up untill 12 years old if they are still poducing viable lambs. And you seem to think that farmers hate their sheep or something but i think your wrong we love our sheep i cant find a farmer which would want his sheep to be suffering.

  • Babs says:

    So to all those out there who slander all wool growers afew points to thinkk about i do come from a sheep farm. Mulesing is not nice and we do take other anti strike approaches such as crutching before spring shearing in November jetting the sheep throughout summer and drenching against gastrointestinal parasites. And i have no doubt that the vast majorty of farmers do similar. However NOBODY EVER mentions the practices of using rubber rings to castrate the male lambs maybe there isn’t the “goreblood” factor to get people motivated enough but anyone who has ever marked lambs i think could agree that it is these rubber rings that appear to cause the lambs the most discomfort. i supoort reaserch into products such as Trisolfen breeding bare breech sheep and increasing the genetic resitance of sheep against parasites. i am also lucky that our farm is one of teh few areas colder climate where we can get away without mulesing. However how many of you would purchase wool if it was mulesing free??? it is a very enviromentallu friendly product compare water needed vs. cotton which is very durable. Does anyone understand how hard it is finacially to be wool grower? Most growers in Australia probabaly have to take out an overdraft each year to get the wool off the sheep’s back! So before slandering all farmers and boycotting all wool products why dont you make postive selection pressure and support growers clothes desighner or programs which are pushing the industry forward. I’m studying to be to vet and when i graduate i would like to make a difference to the industry. What are the rest you doing? Bitching on the internet making yourself feel good about boycotting a great product which chances are you never even would have bought in the first place.

  • Olivia says:

    oi monika… u wrote a comment on april the 27th 2009. If you feel so strongly that we should eat meat… id like to see you go out and kill your own.

  • SAZ says:

    To whom it may concern Firstly mulesing. I myself do not come from a sheep farm but I am friends with many who do therefore i have a broad knowledge of how one runs. Mulesing at the time may seem cruel and inhumane but the recovery is usually at the most a week and the benefits of this practice last an absolute lifetime. The consequences of not mulesing are highly fatal. Would you rather see a sheep with a sore rear for a week or see a sheep lying prostrate in paddock unable to feed water reproduce and eventually die a painful and elongated death? Furthermore have you ever been to a well run sheep farm that practices mulesing? These farmers would obviously not want the quality of their sheep to be degraded therefore they take the utmost care during mulesing and postmulesing. I suggest you who criticise get a further education in this area because you probably have no clue about half the things you are talking about. By constantly putting the sheep industry in a negative light you are downgrading its reputation and credibility one that has been worked hard to be attained. Secondly you’re protesting against the beef cattle industry. Have you ever actually looked at the anatomy of a human? Humans insides are made to digest meat it is an essential source of vitamins and minerals. Humans in the cave ages lived on a diet made mostly of meat. WE ARE MEANT TO EAT MEAT. The beef industry is also an essential sector of the country’s agriculture industry and export industry and by protesting against this more jobs that can be accounted for will be lost especially in the time of an economic crisis. Meat will be lost for those who are normal and healthy and have a diet that consists of a fair amount of meat. Is this really fair? With all due respect I suggest you learn about what you are talking about before you even consider opening your mouth. I hope you understand how hard the beef and sheep industry work to produce top quality meat that is needed in a normal true Australian diet. Regards SAZ. PS. If you do not post this comment you clearly have no balls and you are scared we might know a little more that what you are talking about!!

  • Monika says:

    You can’t boycott Australian wool because a handful are neglecting their animals farming in Australia is hard without shearing them in summer i dare you to stand in our climate with a wool coat on! Not to mention the drought the farmers are doing the best they can with what they have why would we deliberately harm our Sheep for no reason I would rather a small sore on my bum than to be eaten alive by maggots!

  • Doug says:

    These pictures are of animal neglect and have nothing to do with mulesing. There has been a big reduction in the numbers of lambs mulesed. Also the new pain relief treatments are now available. The Aussie wool industry is producing wool ethically. Support it!!

  • Paige says:

    This is a terrible issue and I am horrified by even the idea of mulesing. However as an Australian I feel I should defend my country. I had never even heard of mulesing until a friend of mine from New Zealand described the practise to me. It isn’t just an Austrlian practise merely more common in Australia because of the much larger sheep populations. Something has to be done to prevent flystrike but our farmers can barely afford the cost of feed for livestock and the number of rural suicides have increased as the drought goes on. We need a solution which is not only humane but which farmers can actually afford. When someone can come up with such an idea bring it to the attention of the Australian Department of Agriculture and go from there.

  • I says:

    “Although I support mulesing I also support finding an adequate alternative that is less painful for livestock.” Rhiannon Vaccination Insecticides Breed Selection Sterile Male blowfly release Improved farm management Baited traps Increased monitoring and treatment and a topical application being developed that is virtually painless bloodless mulesing. “It is unreasonable to ask the sruggling farmers in rural Australia to pay mass expenses for injections on thousands of sheep at a time.” Rhiannon If you can’t pay to take care of your sheep properly why do you have them? Also struggling farmers don’t own the multitudes of sheep where mulesing occurs. “Until this alternative is discovered I think mulesing is the best way to prevent flystrike wich can be fatal!” Rhiannon Simply not true there are many effective alternatives to mulesing. Also sheep are not allowed to live after their wool productivity declines.

  • I says:

    “Mulesing while it is still painful only removes the skin layer down to the muscle not “chunks of flesh” as some believe!” Rhiannon Yea I’m sure handlers who don’t even take the time to practice proper husbandry and apply anesthetic will take the time to surgically separate skin from flesh.

  • I says:

    “It seems that there is more emotion than scientific consideration among the opponents of mulesing.” Edward Yeah somehow I’m guessing if you were in the sheeps position getting the flesh around what used to be your testicles cut away you wouldn’t be feeling science much either. Btw Rhiannon there are already viable options on the table for farmers to use Prevention of scouring by a good worm control program Breeding breechstrike resistant sheep Selection away from harshwoolled wrinkly sheep insecticides and by not breeding the extra wrinkly sheep that facilitate flystrikes in the first place. Money is no excuse for the cruelty these sheep are shown. If you can’t pay the bills the wool industry demands perhaps you should pack your bags and head for the city instead of taking it out on the sheep…

  • Edward says:

    It seems that there is more emotion than scientific consideration among the opponents of mulesing. I doubt that many of these opponents have been to Australia or have even visited a farm. It is amazing that people can have such strong feelings based not on first hand experience or research but based on sensationalism and 3 photos whose origins are not proven.

  • Tanya says:

    Rhiannon I would very much like to see some of your research. My son has also elected to study this topic and as the wife of an Australian farmer I am not sure what is the best option. I believe mulesing is a better alternative than having the sheep flystruck and believe me I have seen some of them. But on the other hand it is not all breeds of sheep that need this done and we dont practice mulesing on our farm.

  • Rhiannon says:

    Dear readers I am a current senior student in Australia. Like most I had no idea what Mulesing was until I recently heard about it in a class discussion. I have chosen to research this as a major assignment. My initial thoughts were the same as the majority OMFG this is cruel disgusting can’t they use pain killers or anethsetic or something? However after much research I believe that mulesing is currently the most affective way to prevent flystike in Australia. The fly that cause this infection is only native in Australia which is why no other countries preform this cruel yet affective practice. People do not understand that this fly can eat through skin muscle layer organs and even bone causeing much pain for the sheep over a long period of time. Mulesing while it is still painful only removes the skin layer down to the muscle not “chunks of flesh” as some believe! Although I support mulesing I also support finding an adequate alternative that is less painful for livestock. It is unreasonable to ask the sruggling farmers in rural Australia to pay mass expenses for injections on thousands of sheep at a time. The 2010 ban is only 1 year away and does not give scientist and other professionals to come up with a good enough alternative. Until this alternative is discovered I think mulesing is the best way to prevent flystrike wich can be fatal!

  • rebecca says:

    oh my god! a better way to kill the sheep would be to euthanize them gees!!!!!! its not that expensive i think and it doesnt cause pain to the sheep! yeesh why cant farmars do that? wtf is wrong with people……..i love you pink!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pippa says:

    I think you will find these pictures were the most extreme cases they could find. Before ALL Australian sheep farmers are labeled barbaric you should see first hand how badly this country has been ravaged by drought and hear the hundreds of stories about farmers and their families practically starving to make sure these animals see it through.

  • paul says:

    I laugh when I here people talk about pet sheep! They obviously dont realise that farmers dont have sheep as pets they have them to live off. It is their livelihood. I commend Australian sheep farmers who take the necessary mulesing step. People who hurt animals and are cruel of course are terrible humans however the mulesing step is taken in prevention of flystrike. People want to realise that farming is a business. Just like those businesses that rip of the customer and take peoples homes and so forth farmers to have to take some hard measures. However mulesing helps in the long run.

  • marissa says:

    Mareena you are correct this Australian abuse of animals in this case sheep is horrific I have seen sheep in paddocks dying of flystrike some were treatable others were not and as we could not get the help of the authorities we treated the sheep that were not too far gone however the sheep that were close too death we took to a vet and sadly they were put downa couple of sheep had been mulesed but still suffered from this hideous affliction many more of these sheep may very well have been mulesed also mulesing is not the answer efficient regular monitoring of sheep is mulesing is nothing but a cheap alternative for Australian sheep farmers. The farm in question is in Victoria Australia and the farmer responsible for these sheep lived right across the road from his property and would have seen his sheep dead and dying everytime he drove out his driveway.

  • Alisha says:

    I grew up with pet sheep and we did shear them in the summer but we never hurt them. I assumed that everyone else did it the same way. Thanks for opening my eyes PETA! This is truly horrific.

  • Louise Wickelgren says:

    Icant find worlds..I will never buy ull more!!!

  • rojo says:

    Geoff do other countries have the Australian blowfly? John point taken. Our biggest flystrike risk was during and after sustained rainfall events not as a result of scouring. Didn’t think of that. Apologies Amber however the sheep with immunity to worms appear to not be immune to scouring. Australian farmers spend lierally hundreds of millions of dollars already on worm control as it is. Mareena what is barbaric is to let the sheep die of flystrike and not to do your best to prevent it. We vaccinate our children with needles which no doubt causes them pain because we know that it’s for their own good. One day we’ll look back and think how barbaric that was when some new method takes off. At present mulesing is effective and the alternatives yet to be commercially developed. breeding is ultimately the logical course but takes time to change the whole flock.

  • AWWang says:

    This Australian Animal Tourture is ridiculous! Let the sheeps live peacefully and get their wool safely without havrming them… Hope the farmers get OUT OF BUSINESS!!!

  • Mareena says:

    I think that what these farmers are doing is just wrong and barbaric it is upsetting to know that they can get away with animal abuse….

  • kerry says:

    Way to go rojo!

  • Geoff says:

    What do the famers in other countries do to stop flystrike ? I am interested to know because it looks like Australia is the only country with the problem.

  • John says:

    Rojo Amber is right worms have everything to do with flystrike particularly of the breech. They cause the animal to scour wetting the breech causing dermatitis etc which attracts the primary strike fly Lucilia the real damage is done by the secondary strike fly Chrysomya etc

  • Mary says:

    I hate for this to be done to sheep but I think flystike is much worse. why dont they either come up with a new mothod or make this one more human as in cleaning and dressing the wounds or putting the sheep under so not as much pain is felt?

  • Jan Schultz says:

    From what I know the sheep are mulesed to keep the wool from growing around their anus because they are bred to carry such a load of wool there is no other way. Wouldn’t it be better to simply keep the end shaved? Why cut the skin open so that it doesn’t produce wool why not just keep it short? I don’t understand this terrible infliction of pain on animals. Wool used to be an honorable product.

  • Kayla Foster-Brandt says:

    That is Auful! I have cousins that live in australia and have three sheep ….but they dont shear them because those are pets that they rescued from a horrible sheep farm like that…. but any ways those uggs are so gross they make peoples feet look HUGE and I don’t know what ugg stands for but I’m guesing it means UGGLY !

  • rojo says:

    Sadly there are neglectful farmers just as there are neglectful pet owners. Because “some” mulesed sheep had flystrike does not mean mulesing is ineffective. Flystrike can be in other areas than the breech too. Amber worms have nothing to do with flystrike blowflies lay their eggs in areas they think are attractive like around sheep bums. These eggs hatch and the larvae eat whatever they come across effectively eating the sheep alive. I’m all for better husbandry for sheep but it has to be better. Breeding is the only real way to minimise flysrike without physically bareing the breech. A thinking person would realise farmers only make money from healthy sheep so they don’t go “cutting lambs open and leaving them to be eaten alive by maggots under the pretext of keeping them healthy”. Counterproductive to say the least.

  • Amber says:

    Effective alternatives to mulesing include breeding for worm resistance and breech strike resistance and parasite controlmanagement.

  • Kestral says:

    I’m all for not mulesing…but can anyone name effective alternatives? Flystrike is more damaging to the animal then mulesing. The farmers are just doing their best with what they have. It’s hard.

  • Barb says:

    Can someone tell me the alternative to mulesing? I am not nor have ever been a primary producer but I have seen the results flystrike where the sheep has not been mulesed. Australian farmers are experiencing drought some for up to 7 years. Every sheep that survives and provides good quality wool is the only income for some why would you risk death or illness with your bank account. PS I will be interested to see if this is posted?

  • Me says:

    WTH?! why are these sick bastards able to get away with it?! They should have the same thing done to them! END THE USE OF WOOL!

  • felix says:

    I didn’t know American Apparel is using wool. i buy a lot of their product. I knew to ask them about this. And those UGGS are so stupidlooking. Only bimbos wear them. really

  • Karen says:

    Oh my God! this is ridiculous. how can people actually get away with this!!!??? DONT WEAR UGGS!!! Because people think it’s just the wool but it is actually the wool and skin of the sheep. Also it’s covered in suede!

  • SASHA says:

    THIS IS SICK AND NOT UP TO DATE WITH WHAT NEW MYTHODS THT ARE OUT THERE TO USE. It just shows everyone that in order for them to save a few dollars the animal suffers.

  • Brian W. Lockyer says:

    This reminds me… How come there hasn’t been any mention about American Apparel’s decision to start using wool? Peace Brian.