The Australian Wool Growers Association (AWGA) is warning wool growers that Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) is again using growers' hard earned levies to send the wrong people to speak with wool's customers, at the upcoming International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) conference at Beijing, China.
AWGA Chairman, Martin Oppenheimer, claims AWI is sending the wrong people, with confused political messages, rather than with long term commercial solutions. “Send marketing professionals and animal welfare experts, not agri-politicians.”
“Following the debacle of the AWI Taskforce visit to Sweden, led by agri-politician Don Hamblin, when retailers were left confused and without solutions to their concerns, there have been several commercial delegations, plus Federal government lobbying to moderate the stance of some retailers and fix the mess.”
“Now AWI is again sending Don Hamblin, with little international experience or qualifications, to talk to Textile organisations about mulesing alternatives. Why not send the AWI Animal Welfare Research & Development project Manager?”
As a result of the media coverage and industry panic caused by Hamblin's Taskforce trip to Sweden, NSW Farmers then called for an immediate ban on mulesing. All other Australian farmer groups, plus State and Federal government Ministers have since rejected that call.
AWGA notes that Manager of AWI Corporate Affairs, Matthew Flugge, is also to speak at IWTO, with an update on mulesing. AWI Corporate Affairs manages the Taskforce operations, and it is understood that woolgrowers majority fund Taskforce activities.