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'The future for the wool industry is positive' – AWI
30
Jun '08
Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has recently wrapped up another round of its “Road to 2010 Forums”, bringing the informative road shows to woolgrowers in a total of five key wool producing areas across New South Wales.

The forums allow industry to report back to woolgrowers, updating them on progress in relation to the mulesing phase out.

“We will be covering the big picture, with up-to-date feedback and facts on what our customers are saying and industry's response to them, marketing information from the supply chain down, as well as what the phase-out means on farm with updates on flystrike management and alternatives to the practice of mulesing,” said AWI Product Market Manager Stuart McCullough prior to one of the events.

The joint initiative was brought to woolgrowers by AWI and the NSW Farmers' Association, with the support of government and other groups throughout the wool industry.

Industry experts lead discussions on flystrike prevention alternatives – clips, intradermals and genetic breeding of bare-breech sheep – pain relief, and mapping of the blowfly genome. In particular, the clips are providing very favourable trial results.

“I've looked closely at welfare studies that have demonstrated that when you compare clips to mulesing, the clips have an outcome that is far more welfare friendly when compared to mulesing,” said Dr Norm Blackman, manager of the Australian Wool and Sheep Industry Taskforce.

“Animals are back to normal in a couple of hours. In the case of mulesing it takes a few weeks. The clips are shaping up as an effective alternative to mulesing and are a major step forward from an animal welfare perspective” he said.

Research and development into biodegradable clips is currently underway. A portion of the AWI website has also been converted into a dedicated information portal on updates on the Road to 2010.

Mr McCullough concluded: “The future for the wool industry is positive and we are taking the right steps to achieve the phase out. Australian Merino wool is a great natural fibre with plenty to offer, however, we must change and adapt to meet our customers' needs.”

Wool Is Best

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