Virginia police are looking for a serial butt-slasher—a man who has cut several women across their backsides with a sharp blade in crowded shopping malls. While these attacks are disturbing, they are all too common—at least in Australia, where there is a veritable butt-slashing epidemic.
Every year, Australian farmers cut huge chunks of flesh from millions of gentle lambs’ backsides during the mulesing mutilation. The lambs struggle as they are forced into metal restraints and have the skin around their tails cut away with garden shears in a crude and cruel attempt to prevent flystrike—a maggot infestation that affects Merino sheep who have been bred to have excessively wrinkly skin in which flies lay their eggs. The wounds from mulesing may take weeks to heal, and until then, the little lambs walk sideways like crabs because of the pain. Many lambs die when infection sets in or from flystrike—the very condition that the mulesing mutilation is supposed to prevent.
There are humane and more effective options for preventing flystrike, including breeding sheep to have less wrinkly skin and monitoring flocks more closely to treat the early signs of flystrike. Please take a moment to tell Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard that it’s time for the wool industry to get off its a** and start treating sheep as living creatures, not commodities.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan