A three-year study of 6,000 merino sheep in southern Victoria released by the Australian Veterinary Association found that the lowest incidents of flystrike occurred on sheep who had not been mulesed, but who were simply treated with insecticides.
According to University of Melbourne’s Dr John Larsen, who ran the study:
“In the unmulesed group, that did receive the early treatment insecticide, we had strike rates that were either zero or very low prevalence, less than 2 to 2.5 per cent.
“That was similar to or better than the sheep that were mulesed.” This revealing study was paid for by Australian Wool Innovation, which is funded by Australian wool growers and tax-payers.
Yet surprisingly, AWI has not acted to publicise the results of this study.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Innovation (CRC) has promoted success stories of ending mulesing through selective breeding along with running workshops on how wool growers can stop mulesing.
And many farmers have chosen to end mulesing with great success using insecticides, improved husbandry and selective breeding.
Now this study has confirmed that the early application of insecticides can work better than the painful mulesing mutilation.
With scientific findings and success stories showing that there are humane methods available right now – there can surely be little stalling time left for AWI.
The secret is coming out – mulesing is so dead it’s attracting even more flies than normal.