Victoria legislates mandatory pain relief for mulesing sheep

From the 1st July 2020 pain relief for mulesing sheep will be mandatory under legislation in Australian state of Victoria. This means that a pain relief product registered for use on sheep by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) must be administered.

VFF Livestock Group President, Leonard Vallance was quoted in Stock & Land’s, ‘VIC sheep producers to use Pain relief from July 1’, saying “over 90 per cent of Victorian sheep farmers are already using pain relief when mulesing, but these new regulations mean it will be mandatory for all farmers next month.”

Under Victoria’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act Regulations 2019, mulesing is defined by the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Sheep as ‘the removal of skin from the breech and/or tail of a sheep using mulesing shears’.

Producers have been encouraged to keep thorough records of their husbandry practices and products used, including receipt of purchase, product name, batch number, and expiry date and dosage rate.

From Monday, July 1, if sheep are mulesed without pain relief, fines of up to $496 will apply or, if taken to court, a penalty of up to $3304 may be imposed.

Agriculture Victoria said the inclusion of pain relief during the mulesing process would result in improved animal welfare outcomes for the lambs being mulesed and significant production and economic benefits for sheep businesses.

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