"Mulesing is an unacceptable procedure and [the NZVA] does not condone the use of the procedure in New Zealand under any circumstances...Merino farmers today have other practical options available to minimise the risk of flystrike."
The New Zealand Veterinary Association
Many New Zealanders are blissfully unaware of ‘mulesing' (pronounced mule-zing), a procedure that can only be described as one of the most barbaric and vicious practices carried out in the farming industry today.
Mulesing is the surgical mutilation, without the use of painkillers, of Merino sheep. Skin from the animal's tail area is sliced away with hand shears, leaving a bleeding, gaping wound.
Merino sheep have been selectively bred to have wrinkly skin in order to produce more wool, but their many skin folds offer ideal conditions for blowflies to lay their eggs, leading to flystrike.
The purpose of mulesing is to create a large area of scar tissue devoid of wool, keeping the rear end of the sheep cleaner and therefore reducing the likelihood of flystrike. But in reality, the exposed, bloody wounds resulting from mulesing often become infected or flystruck.
- Spread the word in your community: ask friends and family not to buy wool, and to make use of the variety of alternatives.
- If you know of any farmers who are still mulesing, please get in touch and let us know.