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Crutch is not a typo. It means crotch. Krisjohn

Krisjohn is right. Even as an urban Australian boy I know what the correct name for the back end of a sheep is. Please don't take this the wrong way. Oska 02:35, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)


Comments refactored by CWC(talk) 17:55, 12 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Crutching is shearing the wool from around the anus of a sheep. It requires some effort to marshal the sheep and have to manually shear them. If it didn't need to be done it wouldn't. Any procedure which involves having to handle animals like sheep is possibly stressful to the animals and considerations need to be taken to reduce such interactions. (I grew up on a farm and did rouse-about work, and my father is a shearer). It is not a pretty sight seeing flystrike. Live maggots crawling about the flesh of the sheep. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Adamcrow64 (talkcontribs) 05:07, 2 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems the words crutching and mulesing mean the same. Shouldn't we add a redirect or link to either? Both entries have valuable information. Nichiran 17:53, Mar 17, 2005 (UTC)

Crutching involves removing (cutting) wool. Mulesing involves removing (cutting) skin. When done to sheep, there is wool attached to the skin that is cut off during mulesing. This is the only way they are similar.
I don't know that anyone does mulesing to anything other than a sheep, but I don't know that they don't, either.Garrie 00:24, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is crutching done to prevent flystrike? If yes then they acheive the same thing and are done for the same reason - prevention of fly strike except one is long term (mulesing) and the other short term (crutching). Is this correct? - Ctbolt 22:31, 11 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As our article on crutching explains, fly-strike is not the only reason for doing it. Mulesing does not affect the need for head-crutching, and mulesed sheep can still develop dags and fecal stains. OTOH, mulesed sheep need a lot less crutching (which saves them a lot of stress — see Adomcrow64 above). So saying that "mulesing is long-term flystrike prevention and crutching is a short-term alternative" is fairly right, but leaves out some details. Cheers, CWC(talk) 18:06, 12 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Newspaper article: genetic mutation end of mulesing?[edit]

Another thing: I found a scanned piece of newspaper on a friend's webpage stating that thanks to a genetic mutation in some sheep, mulesing may be unnecessary for those. Picture Would it be permitted and would it do the article good if I (or someone else) were to reproduce it in my (their) own words? Nichiran 18:14, Mar 17, 2005 (UTC)

POV template[edit]

This article desperately needs the attention of someone who is not an animal rights activist and knows something about sheep. SchmuckyTheCat 15:12, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I've cleaned up a bit by removing some superfluous information that seemed to stem from bias and fixing some grammar. I will probably continue to do as time permits. -- 00:38, 21 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Most of the article currently looks good, except for the persistent efforts to demoniza PETA. Saying it is "linked to enviro terrorist groups" is definitely not NPOV. I'm generally down with animal rights; at the same time, I have no idea whether mulesing should or should not happen because I don't know enough about the specific situation of Australian sheep farming, and in fact I'm at this moment making a scarf out Australian merino wool. Ozdaren: there are skillions of other places on the web for you to put forth your views about PETA, in as much detail as you'd like--Wikipedia is not a soapbox. PoetrixViridis 16:44, 23 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


It seems from my experience (20 years of farming, currently ageed 26) that mulesing is a very effective and inexpensive way of dealing with flystrike. I find the practice some what disturbing and do not appreciate carrying it out. Though in farming terms there is probably less bloody/mess/effort than assited birth or treating ... flystrike. If farmers didn't have to mulse, they wouldn't. No one wants to do it but it's just something that has to be done for the wellbeing of the animal. Cutting off dags (yes feices!) and handling it is not a great job either but we do it for the wellbeing of the animal.

Mulsing was developed in Australia for Australian conditions. Culturely Australia (especially the bush, who let all these flies in?) has a large population of flies. Mulesing in England seems like a bad idea... mulesing in Russia seems like a bad idea... but this is from an extremely ignorant point of view who has never been to sheep farms in England or Russia. In Australia though it really helps us out alot.

If you have ever had to treat flystrike you would consider mulsing as a needle prick. On smaller animals >2 months recovery time is incredibly quick and the discomfort certainly seems less that a human receving a tatoo. Maybe a bad comparison? Treating flystrike is one of the worst jobs someone can do. Working at a rubbish tip or sewerage plant would probably be more visually acceptable and wouldn't smell so bad. If you want to get an idea of it go leave a piece of meat out in the sun for a week during summer..., then get a pair of scissors and scrape of the maggots and poor some oniment over it.... nice. Admittedly you miss out on catching the animal, trying to treat it without causing discomfort to the animal that is moving about and removing the wool around the infection.

Sure we could gentically engineer our sheep to be resistant to fly strike... Great... GE sheep...

I'm probably coming from the non-animal activist side a bit too much... so I'm assuming my additions will be removed.--Viper233 22:22, 27 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, I would hope that the POV of an Australian farmer would be included. The unique situation of Australia and New Zealand definitely deserves some place as long as it's substantiated and verifiable. -- 00:36, 21 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well - I used to live on a farm where we mulsed but my parents are retired now. I used to hold lambs to be mulesed and I have never seen anywhere near as much damage inflicted as I have on the photos being used to get mulesing banned.
Re reducing incidence of fly strike through genetic engineering - it was only selective breeding for more prominant wrinkles and extremely heavy fleece weight (in a hot country!) that makes merinos so seceptible to fly strike in Australia anyway. Give it another 20 generations of selective breeding (that's only 40 or so years) and the problem could be very reduced. Genetic engineering would only assist by speeding up that process. Embryo transplants are easily carried out on sheep which would allow flock sheep to become donor mothers for stud wrinkle free merinos which would greatly reduce time for flocks to become less wrinkly. Anyway, it's hardly an issue while most of the sheep grazing areas of Australia are drought declared and carrying only 20% of normal stocking rates. Many farmers aren't even running rams with ewes until conditions improve anyway so flock size is decreasing fairly quickly. But not like in the 80's where many farmers euthenased >80% of their flock due to drop in wool price.Garrie 00:20, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A small-scale sheep cockie told me the other day that most shearers tend to nick the edge of the vulva, leading to more urine getting in the wool, leading to more fly strike. More careful shearing a (more expensive?) alternative to mulesing? Doesn't help the whethers, though. Callophylla 08:14, 3 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or wethers, rather. My bad. Sorry. Callophylla 04:44, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

still not perfect, but...[edit]

took out alot of emotive language and vagueries content was ok however, style was much too subjective

Mulesing in New Zealand[edit]

According Federated Farmers mulesing is not carried out in New Zealand. New Zealand’s Merino industry imposed a voluntary ban from the end of 2010, but not all farmers adhere to it. [1]. This needs to be verified and and used to update the article. Alan Liefting 06:28, 21 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've found that according to the Federated Farmers, 4% of sheep in New Zealand are currently mulesed.[2]. No other leads though. I'd be interested if that's true since New Zealand doesn't attract the same controversy as Australia has recently. -- 00:24, 22 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
PETA is upset about both mulesing and live sheep export - I don't know that NZ do both those activities? PETA has more members in Australia than NZ too I expect. Australia is more urbanised than NZ. So animal husbandry practices aren't as everyday to the urbanised Australian PETA members compared to the more likely to be rural PETA members in NZ. Garrie 00:13, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is less prevalent in New Zealand where about one-third of merino sheep farmers are understood to still practice mulesing.

[3]Garrie 02:26, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Note, although there are almost 40 million sheep in NZ, only about 2million are Merino's - same ref. Garrie 02:28, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry I can't seem to find the (NZ) Animal Welfare Act 1999 on the web. I think that would discuss the legal status of mulesing in NZ. I gather it is not particluarly covered by any legislation - so if someone was taken to court for cruelty I think if they could show they are following a code of practice (and the NZ MAF seem to have one?) then they would be OK... ? Garrie 03:19, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mulesing is covered in New Zealand under the Land Resource Managent Act. The practice is strongly discourged but is legal under extreme circumstances. It must be done by a vet. Very few sheep are Mulesd now if any. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Darkblobby (talkcontribs) 13:51, 28 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Photos of anti-mulesing activism[edit]

One possible source of anti-mulesing activism photos might be this animal activism web site. There's a photo of Lucy the Sheep with Latham and Beatie. We'd probably have to ask for licensing though. Andjam 11:27, 7 January 2007 (UTC) During the ACOTF I asked for permission, or for an interested member there to contribute a photo. No response, and no images to date.Garrie 21:40, 22 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Legal status in the UK[edit]

Second sentence of the lead paragraph makes it sound as though the reference covers legal status of Mulsing in the UK. But it doesn't.

Can anyone identify a source for legal status in UK? I will ask on the docking article too.Garrie 00:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The same BBC article that talks about Pink says it is illegal in the UK, but a legal source is proving difficult to find. There seem to be a plethora of vegetarian/vegan websites that make that claim. -- 06:07, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is strange to me that there is a law for a practice which seems unlikely to be needed - it's like banning outdoor snowskiing in the UAE - given the flock sizes, breeds, and agricultural conditions in the UK. I think the climate in the UK probably isn't all that supportive of large populations of Lucillia cuprina, the main fly linked to fly strike (in Australia at least, and fly strike is that controllable in the UK I haven't seen mention of any contributing factors online).
BTW. I'm sorry but I didn't see that your edit was less POV than the one it replaced. In addition it removed the {{tl:unsourced}} tag even though it was no better sourced. That was my main reason for restoring the previous edit.Garrie 01:15, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have re-read this, but I don't see where it mentions that mulesing is illegal in the UK?Garrie 01:38, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No problems. The statement regarding the legal status of mulesing in the UK is under subhead "Pink Video" and reads, "The mini-film on the Peta website features lambs undergoing mulesing, which is illegal in the UK." -- 19:15, 17 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for pointing that out - the statement has been removed a couple of times because nobody had noticed this part of the article. I will directly cite the statement.Garrie 21:42, 22 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Changed the statement re illegal status in Britain to reflect the references, I think it should stay like that unless a real reference can be found. As the claim is "it is illegal" the real reference is the law it is illegal under. Charles Esson 21:15, 25 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The BBC is a reliable source for matters of law in the United Kingdom. Prester John 19:09, 26 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From the research I've done, it appears that mulesing is NOT illegal in the UK, but it is not done there either, so there is no need for such a law. Bob98133 14:06, 17 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

/*history*/ reference[edit]

[4] is provided as an in-line reference to the history section. But it is not a particularly great source and the article does not make any attempt to compare fly density in Australia with any other sheep producing country.

Yes flies are common in Australia but only certain flies contribute to fly-strike so surely there is a better reference than this?Garrie 00:30, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is better: <ref name = "AWI Blowfly"> {{cite web |title = Battling the blowfly – plan for the future |url = |format = pdf | date = [[3 June]][[2006]]| accessdate = 2007-01-09 | isbn = 1920908218 | author = Jules Dorrian | publisher = Australian Wool Innovation }}</ref>
It discusses Lucillia cuprina's introduction into Australia.

Garrie 01:09, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Code of practice reference[edit]

Sorry if this annoys anyone but this is the current model code of practice for sheep from CSIRO. Appendix 4 deals specifically with Mulesing.

Is there an article on pizzle dropping? It's red so I guess not. If PETA don't like mulesing, what have they got to say about cutting skin in front of the penis of an animal to reduce staining of wool (and as a bonus reduce fly-strike)?

<ref name = "Model Code"> {{cite web |url = |title = The Sheep - Second Edition |work = Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals |publisher = [[CSIRO]] Publishing |author = Primary Industries Ministerial Council |date=2006 |ISBN 0 643 09357 5 |accessdate=2007-01-09 }}</ref>

Garrie 03:52, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links[edit]

It should be noted that most of the pictures I have seen visiting the various animal welfare organisation sites, show animals which have been mulsed other than in accordance with the recommended techniques (ie, done badly). This is why there is so much blood in most of the photos - which are inherently POV photos taken and distributed with the goal to incite feelings that this practice should be ceased.

I am all for banning people who don't know what they are doing, from taking a cutting implement to an animal (or a burning implement for that matter). But taking photos of people who are doing it wrong, and using them to ban the practice altogether, is not exactly NPOV. Unfortunately there are very few photos of well-mulesed sheep around. I think the article would be greatly improved by providing a clearly labelled picture of a sheep which 'has been mulsed in accordance with the recommendations of DPI, CSIRO etc. Garrie 04:19, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article photo[edit]

The photo in the article strongly POV from an animal welfare position. Clearly in this photo the code of practice has not been followed - "no other tissue such as selvage, muscle or other underlying tissue are to be removed or cut".

It is not representative of responsible use of this practice.

As it is a POV photo I strongly feel it should be removed.

At the very least - the caption should acknowledge the source. The imgage itself has been uploaded by user:Funkwaxpuppy whose only contributions have been to upload this image - without acknowleging a source - and to link it to this article.

Having said that - I acknowledge I have my own POV concerns here being a realist in terms of the use of this technique (that is - it is cost effective and if done correctly does more good than harm - but there may well be better techniques around for the appropriate care of sheep).Garrie 04:51, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As the image was not attributed I have tagged it with {{tl:unverified}} and removed it from this article. If the image is correctly attributed it would be best to note the source in the caption.Garrie 04:57, 9 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bad time for photos, mulseing is done just after lambing, October or May, and we are in the middle of the worse drought since federation so I don't think there will be many may lambs this year.Charles Esson 12:15, 11 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah, I know that much... I was hoping that maybe some of the journals / other references would include a photo of how it should be done, rather than the PETA photos of how to not do it.
Personally - if that's how everyone does mulesing, the sooner it's banned the better. But when I've been involved there's more blood from the tail docking than the mulesing, and that's only temporary - if there's blood it means you aren't finished yet. The sheep's pretty clean by the time it's out of the cradle.Garrie 00:00, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am left wondering if the cruelty was performed by PETA to get the photograph. It would not be the the worse thing they have done.Charles Esson 09:42, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

China, South Africa[edit]

China produces more wool than Australia. The major problem fly for Australia is from South Africa, which also has merinos.

What is the status of mulesing in these countries? If Mulesing was routine in China - could PETA do anything about it? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by GarrieIrons (talkcontribs) 02:21, 10 January 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Australia produces 25% of the worlds wool, Chine 18%. When it comes to merino wool production ( that is where the problem is) Australia produces over 50% of the worlds production. South Africa produces 1% of the worlds wool production. Charles Esson 12:06, 11 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think there is too much on the politics and not enough about the what and how[edit]

Late at night, some random words. I will try and do some diagrams tomorrow night Charles Esson 13:19, 11 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mulesing involves increasing of the bear area around the breech by surgically removing wool bearing skin. It is done to reduce the risk of fly strike.

Numerous field trials have shown the benefit of mulseing sheep that are to be retained for breeding or wool production, field surveys done over 2 years in N.S.W. found that mulesing decreased the incident of flystrike by 90% [1]. Prime lambs and British breeds are unlikely to benefit [2].

The operation was first described by J.H.W. Mule in 1930, since then the recommended method has been modified and improved. The current practice is to remove a V of wool bearing extending one-third of the length of a tail that has been docked below the third palpable joint. The breech cuts commence next to the base of the tail and extend along the edge of the natural bear area that is below the tail and finish halfware between the anus and the hock.

Sound planning is required to minimise stress imposed on the lambs. To reduce the stress the operation is best performed within 2 to 8 week of lambing. A well designed vaccination program for the control of clostridial disease needs to be in place to eliminate the risk of these diseases following marking and mulesing. Infection risk is reduced by constructing temporary yards out in the paddock. Temporary yards facilitate the post operation mothering of ewes and lambs. A well planned operation reduces the mustering time and allows the lambs to cool down before the operations are started.

Mulseing shears need to be sterilized, sharp and in sound working condition before the operations starts, and should be disinfected at regular intervals [3].

Firstly - wikipedia is not a how-to manual so we don't need to go into what and how too much.
I think though, that a lot of this is already throughout the article. Also - there seems to be a bit of change going on with the approved practice of Mulesing in Australia. It would not suprise me if soon, the code of practice does not require pain relief. So - I think it would be best to refer the reader to the code of practice rather than attempt to give anything like instructions for how to do it...

I agree. My heading said it all "random words", first time I have done something like this and my thought was the best help I could give was random words. 08:54, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What we do need a reference for, is
  • it was invented by Mules

Cottle states that the operation was first described by Mules during the 1930's, it does not say he invented it. I will try and find something. Charles Esson 10:35, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • early trials which found it to reduce incidence of fly strike

I gave a couple of reference above; unfortunately it is a trip to Werribee to get more. There is a mountain load of stuff available.Charles Esson 08:57, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • current statement in /*Method*/, "The non-wooled skin which is around the anus (and vulva in ewes) is pulled tight as the cut heals and results in a smooth area that does not get fouled by excreta or urine."
Your two journal references are excellent and I think would be best worked into a new section, /*Indicators*/ or similar (it is a vetinary/medical procedure after all).
I have used one of the references in the end of /*Comparison to crutching*/ where it discusses lambs being slaughtered.

Garrie 22:44, 11 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Watts, J.E. (1979). "The blowfly strike problem in New South Wales". Aust. Vet. (55): 325–34. {{cite journal}}: Cite has empty unknown parameters: |quotes= and |month= (help); Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ Morley, F.H.W., and Johnstone,I.L. (1983). "Mulseing operation- a review of development and adaption". Proceedings of the Second National Symposium - Sheep Blowfly and FlyStrike in Sheep, Sydney. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Cottle, D.J. (1991). Australian Sheep and Wool Handbook. Melbourne, Australia: Inkata Press. pp. 20–23. ISBN 0-909605-60-2.

Something interesting from the UK[edit]

I was looking for something to go with "mulesing is illegal in the UK..." and I got this:

Britain produces less than 5% of world wool and is unable to influence the international market, which has suffered through generally reduced demand and little activity in China. In addition, because of adverse currency rates, in particular the strength of the $US, British Wool prices have suffered, in the same way as lamb prices, by being uncompetitive with comparable New Zealand types.

However, it's still worth bearing in mind that French producers will be lucky to receive 23p/kg that, elsewhere in Europe, the price is so low that it is not worth moving off the farm and that, without the Wool Board British farmers would now have to pay to dispose of their wool.

Now classed as a category 3 animal by-product waste, unwanted fleeces can only be incinerated and not burned, or buried, on-farm. In order to handle wool, all Wool Board depots are now required to have a Bio-Security clearance certificate and DEFRA is looking at on-farm collection centres.

from "The British Wool Marketing Board", Sheep Farmer - Wool Update - July/August, 01/07/06

ie - without subsidy in the UK it's not worth moving wool off the farm it's produced on - compared to in Australia where the 5+ year old merino weather is the waste product which we ship off to the UAE to get rid of.Garrie 02:08, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(but I still can't find a source for the law in the UK)Garrie 02:09, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Generally Wool from British breeds is very course and the wool density is not high, that is why there is no value in mulesing British breeds even in Australia ( we have them for meat production). The courseness is why the wool has no value. (it is the same in Australia, there is little value in shearing the course wool, it is just something you have to do). As Britain doesn't even have the flies it would never have been as issue. I doubt very much that there is such a law, it much more likely to be missrepresentation by someone from PETA ( who would think such a thing). My view is the sentance should be removed unless a reference is found. Charles Esson 09:10, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree and I'm removing the statement. Anyone who can source it is free to put it back. Chances are they just don't have a code of practice for it but that's a lot different to it being illegal.Garrie 13:40, 13 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Another thing we have to do.[edit]

We have to get someone to go to Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and see if they are stocking wool products. I have just returned from the USA and as I am interested in textiles I look at what is in the stores, they still haven't discovered good quality woollen jumpers but they have discovered good quality woollen suits. Charles Esson 09:18, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have taken the novel approach of leaving a message on the talk page. I'm assuming this is re: the PETA thing.Garrie 21:11, 22 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

genetic weaknesses[edit]

"An additional argument is that mulesing may mask genetic susceptibility to fly strike". It may be a PETA argument but it is not an argument for not mulesing ewes. Unless it is a double stud the Australian merino stud practice is to keep data on the ram and not the ewes. As you use one ram to about 50 ewes this reduced the work required to keep large stud flocks. So if your interested in breeding "bear bum" sheep you would mules the ewes and not the rams.This however is not the place to deal with PETA's misrepresentation of the facts.Charles Esson 09:29, 12 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is it a PETA argument? Not mulesing ewes with a genetic susceptibility to flystrike could lead to flocks with better natural resistance, by allowing the ones susceptible to flystrike to die horrible slow deaths - hardly something PETA would want to promote, surely. --Scott Davis Talk 00:55, 13 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know of a farmer who got fed up with wool strike and decided to deal with it exactly as you suggest. But it isn't the fastest way; identifying your superior rams and using them is the quickest path. A dead ewe only removes a few progeny from the gene pool, a ram, well used adds hundreds. 11:38, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, almost 20 years ago my father was having lambing percentages over 180, several years in a row (in a flock setting - over 500 ewes). He was mainly supplying weathers to wool growers. From a stud perspective, their ewes throw both males and females. So indirectly they impact nearly as much of the bloodline as the ram does at their generation. Garrie 21:07, 22 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thats a pretty good lambing percentage for merinos, up there with the best. The ram that is the lamb of the ewe you mentioned has a 50% influence from the the ewe and a 50% from the original ram. If well used and with a 180% lambing rate the origianl ram will have had a 50% influence on about 180 lambs. The ewe a 50% influence on 2. The next generation will contain a 50% influence from the ewe ( we are using her ram lamb),and a 50% from the origianl ram and a number of ewes from the origianl rams 90 ewe lambs. The ram wins. If the ram was good enough to join 100 ewes when trying to reach the target them it is reasonable to assume that more than one of his 90 ram lambs will go to the next generation. The ram then wins big time. Double studs are rare in the Australian Merino Industry for this reason, recording the phenotypes of the ewes is a lot of work and in the end a single ewe only has a large influence on the outcome if you use her ram lamb, which will be tested anyway. Charles Esson 22:04, 25 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the method would be, once a sheep - ram or ewe - becomes flyblown you downgrade all their progeny from stud to flock. If records are only kept against the ram then you would simply stop breeding any more from the ewe. But yeah, it's pretty much the same as the arguement against docking tails - it would be better overall to only dock as a result of medical nessecity rather than as preventative, and any animal which has had to have it's tail docked shouldn't be used as breeding stock.
Personally docking and mulesing done correctly doesn't bother me, but I don't know who did the mulesing job that PETA took photos of.
Gee, studs run fairly low ewe:ram ratios compared to flock breeders. I knew it was low, I just didn't realise it is that low.Garrie 13:39, 13 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

stated cause of flystrike[edit]

The section /*Controversy*/ includes:

Proponents of mulesing are largely from Australia where hot and humid weather is naturally conducive for severe fly strikes

(unreferenced otherwise I wouldn't really question it).

I didn't think the humidity around Hay, New South Wales was particularly high - especially compared to say New Zealand or England humidity levels. Yet flystrike is still an issue (even in droughts - when I am guessing again, humidity is low). I don't think it's the environmental humidity that contributes to flystrike - it's the humidity within the wool layer which is probably fairly consistant regardless of ambient humidity. But I'm easily swayed on this one...Garrie 13:49, 13 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mulesing deals with fly strike around the tail, you can also have woolstrike, it becomes a problem in humid weather, but your right we need some references. 11:19, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

reliable references[edit]

I formatted the reference added by Prester John but I don't believe it is reliable:

Mulesing is currently illegal in Britain where fly strike is a relatively controllable problem. Roger Panaman (2004). "Wool". Brute Ethics - The Animal Ethics Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-01-14.

Quotes in the article include:

  • "Mulesing is the partial skinning alive of lambs..."
  • "Stock hands carry out the operation with no demand for competence..."
  • "Blowflies look like house files..."

How do we know this one is any better?

  • "Mulesing is illegal in Britain."

--Scott Davis Talk 09:29, 14 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've been told my edit to this part of the article are pushing a personal bias so I'll step back from discussions about the reliability of the reference. But it may be difficult to find a single reference which supports both sections of this statement.Garrie 22:29, 14 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've asked for reference assistance at Wikipedia talk:UK Wikipedians' notice board#Mulesing legality reference question. --Scott Davis Talk 01:52, 16 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is a case where a real legal reference is required not another "half baked" web page. 11:11, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In Legal Status in UK" section above, IP contributor has pointed out the comment in the BBC / Pink article...This one. I will directly cite the relevant part of the article.Garrie 21:44, 22 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Changed the statement re illegal status in Britain to reflect the references, I think it should stay like that unless a real reference can be found. As the claim is "it is illegal" the real reference is the law it is illegal under. Charles Esson 21:15, 25 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The BBC is a reliable source when it comes to United Kingdom law. Prester John 19:07, 26 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The BBC is a Secondary/tertiary source just like Wikipedia; Wikipedia is supposed to reference it's facts. What we have is the statement "Mulesing is illegal in the UK” flying around the Internet with nobody calling for a reference. As I said above, the claim is that it is illegal, it should not be hard to get a reference, there has to be a law. Until there is a reference the best one can say factually is that advocates are claiming it is illegal, if the BBC got sucked in too, that is the BBC's problem. Under which British law is it illegal? It needs a reference.Charles Esson 20:47, 26 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

PS: If you think news services are factual you obviously haven't been quoted in the news, I've had that experience, news services and facts are only loosely related.Charles Esson 20:50, 26 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

PPS: John maybe a real reference can be had by going and asking PETA, if it's true I am sure they will be only too happy to help; if it's a load of codswallop no doubt you will get no answer. I really want to know if it's true or not, if it is fiction how the urban myth came about and how it was sustained on the Internet would make an interesting case study, perhaps even a wikipedia article. If it's true the standard of Wikipedia rises as it looks as if wikepedia will be the first to have a decent reference. Well that is if you take on the challenge and this doesn't degenerate into an edit war. Charles Esson 21:05, 26 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Email to PETA[edit]

I sent the following email to: . I will let you know if I get a responce.

Could you please supply a reference for the statement "Mulesing is illegal in the UK". 
We need a reference for the wikipedia article on Mulesing.


Charles Esson 21:31, 26 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Got the following auto responce

Thank you for contacting PETA. To allow us to provide you with the best service, please do not send your question to other PETA e-mail addresses. We will make sure that the proper person receives your message. This e-mail was automatically generated to provide you with the following initial information.

Animal emergencies (such as reports of cruelty) will be passed along to the appropriate staff member or organisation so that they can be handled immediately. If you are reporting a Web site that shows animal abuse, please click here. [5]

If you are a member of the media with an urgent query, please call +44 (0)20 7357 9229, extension 232.

If your enquiry concerns membership, a donation you have made or a request for information on how to leave a legacy to PETA, you will receive a personal response from a staff member soon.

We read all letters and value your comments and suggestions. Your input is important to us and will be shared with the appropriate staff member, even if you do not receive a response.

Because of the tremendous volume of mail that we receive, we cannot respond personally to every enquiry. However, requests for information that include a mailing address will be fulfilled right away. Please note that it may take up to two weeks to receive an e-mail response.

If the answer to your query is on any of our Web sites, you might not receive a response. Try searching these sites or at for information.

Find information about PETA here. [6]

If you would like to receive information and updates, please sign up for PETA E-News. [7]

For safety reasons, we do not open any e-mail attachments. If you have sent an attachment, please resend your message with the contents of the attachment pasted into your e-mail.

Thanks again for your feedback and interest in animal rights.


The PETA Staff

We need your help! Support PETA's vital campaigns to save animals. [8]

We have stepped up our "Kentucky Fried Cruelty" Campaign after KFC refused to adopt the recommendations of its own animal welfare advisors. Please help us change KFC! Learn more. [9]

Charles Esson 21:48, 26 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Had no reply.
Charles Esson 07:58, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Charles Esson 20:36, 16 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Obsolete by 2010?[edit]

The lede currently says that mulesing "is expected to be phased out by 2010." The two references at the end of that sentence relate to earlier parts of the sentence. Does anyone have a good source for the "phased out by 2010" bit? I'd guess that sheep breeders hope to produce ewes with bare backsides through genetic manipulation, and I wonder whether they plan to use the old-fashioned (several millenia, at least) GM methods or the 'new-fangled' approach. The latter would, of course, cause a whole new set of protests by ignorant city people. Cheers, CWC(talk) 23:36, 26 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Update: See P. J. James, "Genetic alternatives to mulesing and tail docking in sheep: a review", Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, Vol. 46, No. 1 (Feb 2006), Pages 1-18. (I haven't read it yet.) CWC(talk) 11:50, 13 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Until recently, we had the following sentence:

Mules discovered that, after being struck many times, one of his sheep was losing the wrinkles round her hind end due to close crutching when his hand slipped with the shears, removing skin.

I'm not the only one confused by this sentence, so I've just rewritten it to be simpler but less informative.

I've discovered that the reference for the history of Mulesing is
  Beveridge, W. I. B., "The Origin and Early History of the Mules Operation". Australian Veterinary Journal 61(5), 1984, pp161-163 ([10])
but I couldn't find a copy. Does anyone have one? Cheers, CWC(talk) 11:31, 13 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


What has the view of a pop singer and her back flip got to do with a encyclopedia article on Mulesing; if there is an article on Pink, or urban myths mention it there (I suspect she only got a mention because she gave legs to the urban myth that mulesing was illegal in england). Charles Esson 21:04, 16 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Academic studies[edit]

I've just moved the following paragraph here. It was added last January. It is deeply misleading and contains some important outright lies.

In their comprehensive, long-term study, Fell and Shutt (1989) found that stress-related behavior in sheep continued for up to 113 days following mulesing. Among other examples, mulesed sheep displayed abnormal postures most likely resulting from the painful mulesing wound for up to 48 hours following mutilation; they stood with head down, nose almost touching the ground, back arched, and body hunched (p. 288). Chapman et al. (1994) verified these findings in their own study, reporting that surgically mulesed sheep quickly assumed a hunched-up posture (p. 246). Normal daily behavior was also altered for up to 72 hours. Compared to sheep in the control group, mulesed sheep did not engage in routine feeding, lying, or grazing. Instead, they spent much of their time standing still, unable to engage in normal activities because of the severe trauma that they had experienced. Researchers did not observe any of the mulesed animals lying or resting on the day following mutilation or even drinking until the second day following mutilation. Chapman et al. (1994) also found that mulesed sheep lost weight during the week following mutilation, moved about less frequently and over shorter distances than the control-group sheep during the first eight days after treatment, and often simply stood still (pp. 244–45). [11]

Points to note:

  1. That link is to Google's HTML version of
  2. That PDF is entitled "An Examination Of Two Major Forms Of Cruelty In Australian Wool Production: Mulesing And Live Exports". Woops, there goes Reliable Sourcing ...
  3.! Could there be a bit of an agenda there?
    Well, yes: it's run by PETA.
  4. In a closely related development, the very title reveals profound ignorance: since when has "Live Exports" been part of "Wool Production"?
  5. "Fell and Shutt (1989)" actually refers to "Behavioural and hormonal responses to acute surgical stress in sheep", L. R. Fell and D. A. Shutt, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 22, Issues 3-4, April 1989, Pages 283-294. Abstract here; a PDF of the paper costs US$30.
    This is not a "comprehensive, long-term study" of mulesing: they studied 20 wethers for about 3 months.
    (It is a very nice piece of research. They mulesed 10 wethers aged 6–7 months and measured their stress levels over the next few months, along with a control group. The abstract is certainly worth reading.)
  6. "Chapman et al (1994)" is "A comparison of stress in surgically and non-surgically mulesed sheep", Chapman R E, Fell L R and Shutt D A, Australian Veterinary Journal, 71(11):388 (Nov 1994). Article is not available online (?!), abstract here.
    (They were trying "a quaternary ammonium compound" which damages the skin enough to prevent wool growth, and they compared the results of chemical mulesing and surgical mulesing on some 9-10 month old wethers.)
  7. Neither of those papers studied the mulesing of weeks-old ewes. Both studied mulesing of wethers at least six months old. (Note: anyone who does not know why the gender difference is vital has no understanding of this topic.)
  8. That text is a word-for-word copy from the PETA propaganda. Only a few punctuation marks have been changed.

Long story short: this text is (1) a Copyright Violation and (2) PETA propaganda masquerading as an academic study by radically misrepresenting real research. Bah. CWC 11:19, 22 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

PETA backing off Mulesing[edit]

Illegal in UK?[edit]

RE: removal of section about mulesing being illegal in UK: I looked for another source for this but none of them seem to be reliable - although this factoid is repeated often. Maybe someone familiar with UK law could offer documentation. Bob98133 17:21, 14 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hmm. I wouldn't be suprised if UK farmers have never used mulesing, so no-one has bothered to make it illegal.
If anyone knows for sure or can find out, please add the info here or in the article. Thanks in advance, CWC 05:59, 15 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dramatic description of Flystrike[edit]

The current article's description of Flystrike sounds a bit over dramatised:

"flystrike (being eaten alive by maggots)"

I'm not saying that flystrike is anything nice, but this description sounds like the entire body of the animal is consumed by maggots, like being eaten by piranhas. Considering it is secondary infections that will likely kill the animal, I think the description could be worded differently. In fact, considering the Wikilink to a secondary article on Flystrike, is there a need for any description at all?--Lester2 22:48, 16 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(Actually, the sheep generally die of thirst once they get too weak to walk to water. Or they die of shock after a crow pecks one or both eyes out. The infection rarely kills them directly.)
When I added "(being eaten alive by maggots)", the flystrike article was fairly skimpy. It's now a lot better. So, yes, we could remove those words. But I'd prefer to change them to something like "(being slowly eaten alive by maggots)" — in fact, I've just made that change — because I think it's important to convey that mulesing saves sheep from dying horribly. CWC 02:03, 17 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Still seems overly dramatic to me. I don't think it needs any dramatic wording there. The link to the flystrike article is all that is required. --Lester2 03:19, 19 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, flystrike is a very dramatic event, with very dramatic effects. I think removing the dramatic wording would make the article significantly less informative to new readers, because they would have to go to another article (and think about it) to understand why farmers go to such lengths to prevent flystrike. CWC 22:35, 20 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The word "flystrike" in blue is uninformative in this article, because very, very few people know what it really means, even if they read that article. Any half-way honest discussion of mulesing has to explain that the alternative is even worse, and that means mentioning that maggots eat the (flyblown part of the) sheep.
Actually, around here there are two sorts of maggots. One spreads out over the skin of the sheep, eating the outer layers of skin down to muscle. The eaten region oozes blood and lymph, moistening the wool, which helps more maggots breed. That's the good kind of maggot, because their strikes are easier to spot. The other kind eat their way into the sheep, creating a hole 3-4 cm across and 4-6 cm deep; their strikes are hard to detect, and the sheep often dies in great agony before the farmer realises it's been struck. So even my "overly dramatic" wording greatly understates the true situation.
The point of wikipedia is to write informative articles. An informative article about Mulesing has to be very blunt about the reason for this otherwise-inexplicable practice. So I've restored the parenthetical description of flystrike, and will revert any further removals that don't gain consensus here beforehand. Cheers, CWC 15:14, 30 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Threatening to revert anyone who makes changes to your article doesn't help the discussion. Threatening to discuss it more is a better alternative. So discuss it more we will.
I'm not arguing that flystrike is not a horrible thing. It's just the phrase you use that the victim gets "eaten alive" has too much drama and too many connotations that give the impression that a substantial part of the animal is eaten and devoured until it dies. That is an inaccurate image. While the maggots cause skin lesions, it could be argued that the most painful part of the process for the sheep is the blood poisoning (septicemia), which is what really causes the animal to waste away and eventually die. So if you wanted to sum up flystrike in 3 or 4 words, "being eaten alive" does not encompass it very well, and is not a good summary.--Lester 20:41, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not 'my' article, and I'm only asking that consensus be gained before further removal of a specific, vital 6-word phrase. I'd welcome any improvements to the current wording, BTW. But as I have argued above, we'd be failing our readers if we don't state bluntly what mulesing is about.
You do know, I hope, that the maggots eat the entire animal. It's just that the sheep dies early in the process.
"Cause skin lesions" is a very inaccurate and misleading description of what the maggots do (at least the non-hairy ones — I don't know the proper taxonomical names, sorry). They eat the entire multi-layer skin structure, down to the roots of the wool (so that the wool is no longer attached to the flesh), then keep eating through nerve endings, muscle tissue, etc.
It "could be argued that the most painful part of the process for the sheep is" the septicimia. It could also be argued that it's the smell. But the reality is that having a mass of maggots eating you alive is actually quite painful. Even one or two maggots eating at healthy flesh is painful to the sheep; several hundred chomping away is agonising. Having tried to save hundreds of flyblown sheep (usually with success), I believe that the physical trauma of being slowly eaten alive by masses of maggots tends to disable the sheep before septicemia does, at which point the additional agony of dying of thirst begins.
I added the word "slowly" to "being slowly eaten alive by maggots" in an attempt to convey that the maggots do not eat the whole sheep before it dies. Anyone who wishes to tweak the wording to convey that the sheep dies when the maggots have eaten only a small fraction of the flesh is, as always, quite free to do so. Cheers, CWC 02:56, 2 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Chris. You're trying to describe Flystrike in 4 or 5 words. If we must have a definition of flystrike (rather than rely on the wikilinked article to do that), then I think the following definition is best: an infestation of fly lavae".ref I will add this to the article shortly. My problem with the original "eaten alive" wording, is that it does not seem accurate. If the animal dies of blood poisoning, then it is "eaten dead", so to speak. A dead animal will be eaten by flies, worms, bacteria and whatever else may be around. It seems the process is that the flies cause the skin lesions (yes they do feed off tissue), septicemia/blood poisoning kills the animal, and then all the critters eat the carcass. I am concerned that the previous wording implies the animal is killed by being devoured. Regards, --Lester 01:44, 5 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've re-added the definition of flystrike: "a skin infestation of fly larvae". This is using the USDA referenced definition (link in paragraph above). I think this is a neutral and encompassing definition, though we could have changed "fly larvae" to "dipterous larvae", but that would make it harder to understand. I feel this is better than the "eaten alive" definition, as if we use dramatic words that don't encompass the overall definition, that leaves the entire article open to dramatic descriptions of every part of mulesing.--Lester 20:52, 7 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Flystrike or myiasis is an infestation of living tissue by maggots or fly larvae. Trying to be neutral in an article obviously slanted to an animal rights POV is rubbish since I suppose having a sheep suffer for months and months as maggots eat away at its anus is more humane than snipping away a bit of skin that heals up in 2 weeks? Bugguyak (talk) 21:18, 30 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't follow your logic. I think that you are comparing abuse to neglect and finding that abuse is prefereable. Everything I've read indicates that flystrike can be prevented through improved animal husbandry and without mulesing, so there are more choices than just painful surgery without anesthetic or being eaten by maggots as you suggest.Bob98133 (talk) 14:47, 31 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I was illustrating the logic behind the entire dialouge with similar manipulative and irrational scaremongering. Bugguyak (talk) 01:07, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, but your manipulative and irrational scaremongering dialogue logic illustration went right over my head. I was asking why editors must decide between mulesing and flystrike when there are other alternatives?Bob98133 (talk) 13:28, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And those alternatives would be what? and do try to be more specific than "improved animal husbandry". Bugguyak (talk) 20:04, 2 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Resistance to phase-out[edit]

Knowing a few farmers, they've told me that there has been heavy resistance to the 2010 phase out of muelsing, because of no viable alternatives. I want to add this in but I can't cite it. Goldfishsoldier 09:05, 26 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As I understand it, it's less that there are no viable alternatives, and more that they simply don't have the money to implement them. The vast majority of Merino farmers are like the vast majority of any other sort of farmer; they are not rich men, and many live within a single lousy season of losing the farm. Mulesing works, and costs next to nothing. In order to get the same level of effectiveness, they'd have to combine bi-weekly crutching with monthly Ivermectin injections. That's about 10 times as labor-intensive and expensive. And so now they're in a situation where, thanks to the ham-fisted ultra-leftist ignorance of PETA (and people like Pink, who I doubt has ever seen a sheep that wasn't on a PETA video) they face bankruptcy if they don't stop and bankruptcy if they do. Wonderfully intelligent response from a group of people that has made it amply clear that neither reality nor ruination of good, honest people are factors in their decision making. Bullzeye (Ring for Service) —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 17:48, 28 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Some folks around here have high hopes for breech clips. Let's hope they work out. Cheers, CWC 15:25, 2 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So from what you say, the ONLY reason that there is resistance to phasing out mulesing is economic - "10 times as labor-intensive and expensive?" I think that agrees with what PETA says. Can you document that PETA is ham-fisted? I thought they were opposed to any animal use. As well, if you are going to call a group "ultra-leftist" I think you have to provide documentation - I searched the PETA web site and could find no mention of any political affiliation. Is merino wool a necessity? I understand that many farmers earn their living producing it, but is it necessary to life on earth? If not, and if cruelty to animals is a necessary part of its production, I don't think your economic argument holds up. Just trying to get a handle on this. Thanks Bob98133 18:14, 30 October 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

October-November 2007[edit]

Some editors have been over-using the "Undo" feature, apparently to remove my description of flystrike as "being slowly eaten alive by maggots". However, I made other important corrections in this edit, so their reversions put bad/misleading/incorrect claims back into the article. Please stop doing that!

Anyone who wants to get rid of that accurate and informative description will have to

  1. Argue a case against it based on Wikipedia policies.
  2. Gain consensus for their argument.
  3. Do an actual edit to remove just that parenthesis, rather than just clicking on "Undo".

I have explained at some length above why I think this "dramatic" description is vital to the article. So far no-one has even attempted to counter my arguments. Cheers, CWC 08:53, 1 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Don't expect Lester to offer any counter-arguments. He doesn't even recognise the argument that you are making. It doesn't occur to him that people reverting his nonsense are trying to write an encyclopedia. He prefers to live in his paranoid fantasy he is being "baited". Prester John -(Talk to the Hand) 02:56, 4 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Prester John, I reverted you revert a week ago (once) because there were active discussions taking place at the time that you had not participated in. You reverted the article, but I still don't see you discussing the article content. --Lester 11:01, 4 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Lester is again disrupting the project by removing a referenced description and replacing with his own [[WP:OR|original research phrase. I am going to replace with what the phrase that is used by the reference. Prester John -(Talk to the Hand) 03:07, 5 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Prester, you don't make clear which part of the article you are talking about, however, if it is the description/definition of flystrike you are referring to, there is an existing discussion taking place in the section above, Dramatic description of Flystrike. Join us there for a discussion. --Lester 20:32, 7 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Intro needs rework. Currently biased.[edit]

The intro needs a lot of rework. Currently, it is biased on the side of farmers and those in favour of mulesing. An intro should provide a summary of the article. At the moment, it doesn't. There are 2 sides to the mulesing debate, and both sides should be represented in the intro. It's fine to define mulesing, and to state the opinion of farmers as to why they do it. However, the intro should then briefly state the case of those opposed to mulesing, and why they oppose it. It is the intention of Wikipedia rules to be inclusive of both sides of any controversial debate. Cheers,--Lester 21:02, 7 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, I don't agree with everything in Lester's comment, but I do agree that we should mention the controversy in the lede. I've restructured the lede into 2 paragraphs, and added the sentence:
Animal welfare advocates strongly oppose Mulesing and have campaigned against it.
This is a start, but probably needs to be expanded.
I've also added that fact that NZ has phased out Mulesing to the lede, and removed the barely-relevant USDA ref (wrong nation, wrong hemisphere, wrong climate). In addition, I corrected the parenthetical description of flystrike to "being eaten by maggots, usually causing death in a few days". Flystrike is not a "skin infestation": there's no skin to infest where the maggots breed, because they've eaten it, along with the adjacent meat.
While I'm here: I also removed the claim that many describe Mulesing as barbaric, which is not supported by the existing sources. If/when someone finds a good WP:RS for someone calling it barbaric or similar, we should add language like "X has described Mulesing as Y"; see WP:AWW. Cheers, CWC 17:18, 24 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not sure if I should start a new section, but this issue doesn't seem to be fixed. The introduction still states:

What these welfare people don’t understand is that there aren’t any other convenient, time, and cost effective methods on preventing the skin becoming flyblown. To not do anything, (i.e. letting the skin become flyblown), is even more cruel than mulesing itself.

This seems to be a somewhat biased POV towards pro-mulesing. Opinions? Rimmington01 (talk) 23:45, 8 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

rewrote intro it now has more opinions and more quotes, i reordered too because i feel that as the least common opinion the animal rights one is the least important —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:51, 9 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think you did a good job on redoing this. I don't object to the animal rights position coming last, particularly since there is a controversy section in the article, but I don't agree with your rationale as this position being the least common. PETA claims a membership of a couple of million people, whereas the AVA or the National Farmers probably have memberships under several thousand, so the animal rights position is probably "more popular". In this case, since it's a minority of those knowledgably commenting on the issue, it makes sense to come at the end. Good job. Bob98133 (talk) 19:03, 9 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

sorry for any confusion but i meant of the opinions expressed in the intro. the animal rights view is probably more popular —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:25, 13 October 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i put surgical back in the intro so it is in line with the cited source. i corrected the NFF quote. i changed the the AVA section so that it is a direct quote and actually makes sense. i changed "recommend" to "support" as this is the word the source uses. changed rspca bit because i have no idea where the previous version came from. in my opinion the rspca part, although important as the only animal welfare pov in the intro, should be deleted. the source is too shit.

This intro is still very biased. It provides 4 statements from those supporting mulesing, and only 1 from those who oppose mulesing. I think it should be reduced to 2 sentences - 1 for each position. Any additional detail can easily be found later in the article. (Even the first paragraph is extremely repetitive. The final sentence there about Australia should probably just be put into the first sentence, or just moved to the History section.) Overall, this article gives extremely different impressions of the issue depending on different parts of the article, and it is just generally confusing. Hopefully someone who is able will give this some more time and make it more objective and less confusing. (talk) 21:31, 7 April 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

checking in[edit]

i thought i should better write here otherwise any changes i made would be dismised. all changes i mase are aimed at providing a more neutral view. for example in the intro i feel it is better to have the proffesional opinion before the activist one. and the first cite says that muelsing is a surgical procedure which is more truthful than the previous description. if you would like more rational for changes just ask and if you revert any changes can i please have your reasoning. ta Grinchsmate (talk) 07:04, 16 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

im not going to argue the language pointeven though i dont believe you have to have attended university to be able to do somthing surically. the source explictly states "Mulesing is a skilled surgical task". if you want to chang it find a more reputable source and the please disscus it. once again you have twisted the source in regard to the ava, i lengthend the quote and reworded to give a better representation of the source. your version suggested that the pcartice of mulesing was to short term i feel that my version is more clear.Grinchsmate (talk) 02:57, 17 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i object to the use of the word "many" because we have no numbers of who does and who doesnt support it, "some" is a much safer word because it cant be wrong. i removed the slicing flesh off the lamb part because it suggests that this is what mulesing is. if you can come up with better wording please include it.Grinchsmate (talk) 12:59, 17 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see that the reference used refers to mulesing as a surgical procedure, so I guess it is although I'd think twice before I let a sheep farmer operate on me! I've added this to the controversy section since it is a relevant part of the controversy that a surgical procedure is being performed by unlicensed, essentially unregulated workers who have not been trained in veterinary medicine.Bob98133 (talk) 13:51, 17 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

sorry but i moved it to the procedure section because it seems to fit better there. the controversy is over the procedure not who operates on the lamb. and if you read th e source it will tell you that all mulesing practcioners must be accredited and anyone whoe mules's a lamb is bothe licenced and regulated and has been trained in this area of vetinarry medicine. you are just trying tosensationalise. i recognise that different sources use different words and that may be a little confusing but to infer from this that accrditation is hapharard is simply wrongGrinchsmate (talk) 03:01, 18 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

if you read the source it says (appendix 3, section 1, paragraph c, point 3) "a comprehensive and audited training and accreditation process is availiable and mandatory for anyone who performs the mulesing procedure" so your right, they should be accredited but useing 'shoulld" implies they dont have to be. Grinchsmate (talk) 14:08, 18 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Soure says "SHOULD"[edit]

Qualifications, experience or training necessary to perform this procedure Mulesing is a skilled surgical task where lambs should be handled with care at every stage. Demonstrations should only be carried out by mulesing contractors accredited by the Livestock Contractors Association.

The above text is word-for-word from the source quoted. Sorry, the wrong source was used before, but this is VERY clear that mulesing can be done by taxi drivers, or anyone with a knife and asheep, however, it "SHOULD" only be done by "mulesing contractors accredited by the Livestock Contractors Association."Bob98133 (talk) 19:39, 18 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]

The above text is most certainly word for word, but you left out the context of your source. It is clearly for TEACHING how to mules animals. Notice the word "demonstrations". It isn't a demonstration if you are doing it for it's intended purpose. It's only a demonstration when you are attempting to teach others how to do it correctly. A good example is Lifeguard training from the red cross. Anyone is capable of the procedure, but only licensed individuals are allowed to practice it. In addition, someone with that license isn't allowed to teach others- you need another level of training to do that. It would seem that the source you've provided explains that anyone who's teaching mulesing should be accredited by their organization. It does not say that people performing the mulesing in practice shall be accreditated or should be accredited. Frankly, it does not address it at all.
In fact, I looked up the code that highlights mulesing, since it seems so abstract.

Yes, it does use the word "should". But nowhere does it use the word "shall". In the context of this source, "should" is considered the highest degree of necessity. (bad wording on my part, I know, but don't know any other way to put it). Look at the section on euthanasia, which is certainly regulated. It uses "should" as well in describing all of its procedures.Lime in the Coconut 18:13, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

yes it should only be done by qualified persons just as you should not drive over the speed limit and you should not kill people and you should pay your taxes. should does not mean they dont have be qualified to it means they can choose not to but then they are in breach of the law. the first source "the sheep" contains the code of practice for mulesing, which states that training and accreditation are mandatory, that means they have to do it. now please look it up so we dont have to go through this again. also if you want to question the source. in the description, you dont even have to open the pdf, it says "The wool industry has proposed that mulesing be phased out by 2010 but until then the standards for the conduct of this procedure as outlined in this code must be adhered to" now dont try the meaning of "must" with me and the source you like says that this code of practise needs to be followed to comply with the law. Grinchsmate (talk) 03:15, 19 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

looks like I just rehashed what was already said. I would point out that his source is for TEACHING others how to perform the procedure.Lime in the Coconut 18:13, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bot report : Found duplicate references ![edit]

In the last revision I edited, I found duplicate named references, i.e. references sharing the same name, but not having the same content. Please check them, as I am not able to fix them automatically :)

  • "DPI SOP" :
    • {{cite web |url = |publisher = New South Wales Department of Primary Industries |date = [[March 8]], [[2004]] |accessdate = 2007-01-09 |title = Standard Operating Procedures - sheep Mulesing |works = teacher's notes}}
    • {{cite web |url = |title = Standard Operating Procedures - sheep Mulesing |publisher = New South Wales Department of Primary Industries |accessdate = 2008-03-01}}

DumZiBoT (talk) 03:07, 10 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


in the controversy setion there are two parragraps dealing with the boycott of wool from mulesed wool. two specific retailers have been named although others are mentioned. is there some way this could be cleaned up. and perhaps a link made to a list of retailers who have also boycotted the wool. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:40, 16 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry, didn't see this discussion until after I'd made changes. Surgical has been discussed before. In one place in the article it says that mulesing practitioners SHOULD be certified. That means that some may not be. It's hard to believe that unlicensed practitioners can perform skilled surgery. The version I changed back to describes the process without the controversy, so it makes more sense. I believe that's what was decided the last time this was discussed.
I also removed some other minor POV and replaced a ph that was deleted, I thought without discussion. I don't have any great objection to it being deleted, as long as a reason is given. However, considering that it was done along with a bunch of other edits that seemed very POV to me, that deletion seemed more like an attempt to change the tone of the article than for any genuine reason. But agreed, it's not all that valuable anyhow.
Ridiculed - OK, the source uses that word, but to use it it in Wikipedia the source itself would have to be quoted. The information from that article that seems useful is the quote from NFF (which I spelled out since it isn't mentioned earlier in the article).

Bob98133 (talk) 19:51, 17 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i saw the earlier discussion. i also saw the discussion on "should". your point is totally invalid you are picking on the use of one word and assuming from it that mulesing practitioners are not qualified and taking this to mean that the procedure is not surgical. the problem with this is that "a comprehensive and audited training and accreditation process is available and mandatory for anyone who performs the mulesing procedure". ("the sheep" appendix 3, section 1, paragraph c). basically every single mulesing practicioner has to go through "a comprehensive and audited" training programme which is "mandatory". also the source that uses the word should and you use to justify you statement that "some [mulesing practitioners] may not be" qualified. states very clearly that "Mulesing is a skilled surgical task". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:51, 18 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"can i also say that an appendectomy SHOULD only be carried out by a surgeon" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:05, 18 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

i deleted the paragraph about british retailers because i thought it could be covered in the paragraph that covers scandinavian and american retailers. sorry it was a poor edit, i should not have deleted the reference, i should also have discussed this when i made the change. i have now moved the reference. also the source says nothing about british retailers only european retailers so i have changed the article to reflect this. ive also moved the information about Liz Claiborne into the same paragraph as well as add more information from the source. ive added more information on the Swedish paragraph too.

The reference may say that mulesing is a surgical procedure, but that is POV unless it is conducted by a veterinary surgeon. It is fine for an accrediting body to claim that a procedure which they support is a skilled surgical procedure but that doesn't make it so, any more than an animal rights group claiming that it is torture makes it so. Both groups have a stake in the procedure so they promote their views with language that should not be acceptible on Wiki without thorough referencing. The previous version simply explained the procedure. If you want to add that the reference you supplied believes this to be a skilled surgical procedure, I have no problem with that, as long as it is balanced with references from veterinary sources who may disagree. I am not saying that mulesing is not a surgical procedure in that flesh is removed from the animal, but it is no more a skilled surgical task than the castration of beef cattle. Bob98133 (talk) 14:27, 18 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

im not sure but i take this to meant that your objection is now to the use of the word skilled. i would assume that because a training and accreditation programme is mandatory then the procedure must be skilled. also the stated source is a government department which differs from an animal rights group in that it is "credible", "with a reliable publication process" and "the authors are generally regarded as trustworthy or authoritative in relation to the subject at hand". this makes for a fairly reliable source wouldnt you say. also i cant help but think you have very little knowledge on this subject, for one the dpi is not an accrediting body, accreditation is carried out by the Livestock Contractors Association. and castration is in no way skilled. and i have seen animals castrated by children who have to stand on a box to reach the marking cradle, nor is it what i would call surgical in that the animal is not cut in any way.

skilled surgical task[edit]

I removed skilled from the definition since any surgical task requires skill, even though the source used that wording. However, the source clearly states that "lambs should be handled with care at every stage. Demonstrations should only be carried out by mulesing contractors accredited by the Livestock Contractors Association" (my bold). If this government source says that these things should happen, it means that they often do not. It also means that the source is a recommendation, not a law. According to the surgery article surgery is "is a medical specialty" but the procedure may also be conducted by "medical practitioners, but the term is also applied to physicians, podiatric physicians, dentists and veterinarians." There is no mention of mulesing practitioners. Despite this industry source, I do not believe that mulesing qualifies as surgery. This was discussed before, so I yield that point, but to call it "skilled" is not only redundant, but insulting, since the only skill required in many areas is practice. Bob98133 (talk) 11:46, 11 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Isn't that WP:OR? How can you override the authoriative source on the subject based on your opinions? Again, you are going on your own when you say "this government source says that these things should happen, it means that they often do not." You have no room to make that statement. You are trying to twist their own words. Oh, and that's not the acutal source. It makes reference to the source ( which I posted a link to a few sections above. And even if "they often do not" those people are in volation of the law, and that carries no weight in this discussion. Obviously people can break the law on their own volition, that doesn't mean it's acceptable. And why do you make the claim that it is a reccomendation and not a law? Last time I checked, recommendations didn't use the words "require" and "mandatory". Also, to point out yet again, you are quoting a training course, not code that explains how the procedure is to be performed. And now you are going to use a wiki-source surgery article to define what is and what isn't surgery? That's a big no-no, you are supposed to use outside sources. You don't get to decide what qualifies as surgery, nor do I. We leave it to the experts, and all the sources say it's surgery. To call it "skilled" is to follow wikipedia policy and not write our own interpretations of every word in a source, deciding to leave a few out here, and change a few there.

Which also brings me to ask why you aren't using "The Sheep" as your first citation in reference to defining mulesing? Logically, that would be the source to quote. Lime in the Coconut 18:31, 20 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mulesing not being banned / phased out[edit]

There's a mistake in the third chapter, mulesing is not being banned or phased out in Australia by the end of 2010, the decision was taken back last July and no new deadline has been set.

Some references:

Would appreciate it if a more experienced editor than me would correct the article. Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:06, 3 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Soft rolling skin sheep (SRS)[edit]

Soft rolling skin sheep (SRS) are just as susceptible to flystrike as most other Merinos. With the ~proposed phase-out of mulesing SRS sheep are now being touted as a breeding solution to flystrike problems.[12] Australia: SRS wool leads to pilling: wool processor Cgoodwin (talk) 22:14, 19 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What's with the little trademark symbol? Anyway I'll have a look at it tommorow, lloks like a copyvioTicklemygrits (talk) 11:10, 21 February 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How do flystrikes lead to slow and agonising deaths?[edit]

So a farmer spots a sheep with flystrike and instead of treating it, the farmer leaves it to die? It seems to me that to go from not mulesing to death would require gross negligence on the part of the farmer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:50, 18 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

because for the farmer to find it he would have to closly inspect every one of his many thousand sheep regularly, somthing physically impossiblefor one man to do. not to mention the stress to the sheep, greater chance of mismothering, faster spread of diseases and parisites and environmental damage that come with regularly moving sheep. it might not be pretty but mulsing realy is the best way to handle marinos. stu —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:51, 24 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

EE or AE (English)?[edit]

Oreo Priest recently objected in an edit summary to a previous editor Ohconfucius making a request to use EE in this article. This was on the grounds that mulesing is common in Australia and therefore should NOT use EE. I don't know why Ohconfucius wanted to post a tag to use EE but I lived in Australia for 12 years and EE is used, not AE so I do not understand the concerns of either editor. Perhaps one or both would like to explain?__DrChrissy (talk) 20:38, 16 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

EE? Do you mean British English? And Australian English says that it's the variety spoken in Australia. Oreo Priest talk 16:44, 20 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, yes, I did mean British English. Are there any differences between written British English and written Australian English?__DrChrissy (talk) 20:29, 20 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have just looked at Australian English and I concede that there are accepted differences to BE. I find this amazing because I went to high school and University in Perth and I was never aware of these differences. So, there may be a point to requesting the article is written in Australian English rather than British English.__DrChrissy (talk) 20:38, 20 February 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reference to the West Australian Newspaper "AWI scraps mulesing deadline" seems dead[edit]

The (currently) eighth reference: 'Bob Garnant (30 July 2009). "AWI scraps mulesing deadline". Countryman. West Australian Newspapers Pty Ltd. Retrieved 2010-01-18.' appears to be a dead link. Should it be removed? I didn't find the original article by other means. -- (talk) 21:55, 30 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In general, dead links are not removed. Have you tried the Internet Archive? Oreo Priest talk 22:34, 30 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have tagged it as a dead link to alert editors that we need to try and rectify this__DrChrissy (talk) 17:15, 31 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mulesing elsewhere[edit]

This article doesn't seem to cover the instance of mulesing outside of Australia (and New Zealand somewhat). Is there any way this could be added, or at least mention something like "Mulesing is not common practice outside of these countries owing to XYZ"? (talk) 03:45, 5 January 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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