Australian sheep producers are facing continued criticism from animal rights groups despite leading the world when it comes to on-farm animal welfare practices says sheep and wool producer, Charles (Chick) Olsson.
Mr Olsson said Australian woolgrowers have been leading the world in best animal welfare practices for the past decade, in the face of much unfair criticism from animal rights groups and what he refers to as "the weak-kneed".
Retail giants Kmart and Target recently announced they would stop selling products containing mulesed wool by 2030. The announcement came only days after David Jones and the Country Road Group committed to phasing out mulesed wool.
"Retailers such as Kmart and Target would rather see plastic fibres destroy the planet, rather than support natural fibres to save the planet from plastic pollution," Mr Olsson said.
"Over 85 per cent of dedicated Merino growers are successfully treating pain and wound management with Tri-Solfen for essential practices such as mulesing, castration and tail docking."
Mr Olsson would like to see producers extend their use of pain relief products to accidental shearing cuts.
He said he helped develop and commercialise Tri-Solfen, a product initially designed to provide pain relief during mulesing
It has been widely adopted in both the sheep and cattle industries in Australia and more recently has found new markets as an effective treatment for foot and mouth disease in South East Asia.
Mr Olsson runs his sheep and wool enterprise at Four Seasons, Goulburn, NSW with a 'Gold Standard' in animal wellbeing so it comes as no surprise that he and his team are leading the way in on-farm ethical animal treatment.
About 1500 ewes are run on 1200 hectares at Four Seasons including 1200 crossbreds and 300 Merinos, all carefully overseen by manager of nine years, Nathan Selmes.
The team at Four Seasons have been using the Tri Solfen pain relief gel on shearing cuts for the past three years.
"Accidental shearing wounds are inevitable when it comes to harvesting the wool off sheep," Mr Selmes said.
"But Tri-Solfen 100 per cent works on any wound. It gives a triple dose of pain relief, wound healing as well as hindering the chance of infection.
"It doesn't matter how good a shearer you are, most sheep are going to get a knick or wound on them when going through the shearing process."
Mr Selmes said the Merino is more susceptible to an accidental wound due to them having a looser skin than a crossbred.
Merino ewes were originally only used to build up their first-cross portion of the enterprise, but now they are focusing on rebuilding their self-replacing Merino numbers and wool cut.
Mr Olsson said the wool industry desperately needed resetting because wool prices were now falling and the flock continued to shrink.
"The adaptation of these new pain and wound treatments has been sadly lost in the world by 10 years of disgraceful inaction by our peak body, AWI," Mr Olsson said.
"This is a huge leap forward by Aussie woolgrowers.
"Hopefully this can now be remedied by the newly elected AWI board who must be aggressively proactive in defending our essential surgeries and out promote the negative anti-wool message from ill informed animal rights groups."
The story Aussie producers leading the way in on-farm welfare practices despite unfair criticism first appeared on Farm Online.