Demand Livestock Owners Provide Pain Management for Sheep


Target: Australian Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Paul Grimes

Goal: End the practice of unanesthetized and painful mulesing in Australia

Mulesing is a controversial husbandry practice used in sheep to prevent flystrike—the laying of fly eggs in wool, leading to parasitic infection by maggots. Mulesing is performed by removing the strips of skin around the buttocks of sheep, typically when they are lambs, and may often occur without anesthetic. Petition the Australian government to make mulesing more humane by requiring anesthetic and pain management.

Because mulesing is frequently done in conjunction with ear marking and tail docking, young animals re-subjected to simultaneous painful procedures if local anesthetic is not employed. Australian law does not require that livestock handlers use anesthetic despite the obvious pain caused by mulesing and other husbandry procedures, an egregious oversight in the realm of animal welfare. There are local anesthetics that livestock owners and veterinarians alike can and should use.

Though the Australian Veterinary Association accepts mulesing because of husbandry requirements, it recognizes the welfare implications of the practice. There are more humane ways than mulesing to prevent flystrike, but if mulesing is used, then anesthetic should be required. Mulesing without anesthesia is simply cruel and inhumane, subjecting animals to preventable pain. It is wrong to leave these lambs in pain for the four weeks it takes to heal, and it is cruel to perform a procedure like this without anesthetic. Call on the Australian Department of Agriculture to protect these animals.


Dear Secretary Paul Grimes,

Mulesing is a husbandry procedure meant to prevent deaths in sheep from flystrike, but it is a painful operation and takes four weeks to heal. Though mulesing may not be the most desirable tactic, it is useful in preventing deaths by flystrike. However, the Australian government does not require that pain management be used in museled lambs despite the pain caused by the procedure.

I urge you to require livestock owners to use anesthetic during mulesing on a national level. It is unconscionable and inhumane to provide no pain relief to an animal after an operation in which skin is removed from their bodies. There are other humane alternatives to mulesing, including using local anesthetic during and after the operation, and the Australian government must take steps to make mulesing as painless and humane as possible.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Böhringer Friedrich via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Evil triumph prevails when good people do nothing.

  2. martine gerkens says:

    Choc fron this barbare practice!!

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