Mandatory Pain Relief for Mulesing Sheep in Victoria
From the 1st July 2020 pain relief for mulesing sheep will be mandatory under legislation in Victoria. This means that a pain relief product registered for use on sheep by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) must be used.
Under Victoria’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) 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 are 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 1 July 2020, if you mules a sheep without providing pain relief you may be fined $496 or, if taken to court, a penalty of up to $3304 may be imposed.
The inclusion of pain relief during the mulesing process will result in improved animal welfare outcomes for the lambs which are mulesed and significant production and economic benefits for sheep businesses.
Sheep producers are encouraged to seek advice from a veterinarian or animal health consultant regarding available treatment options for their own situation.