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Animal Welfare - Senate Select Committee - Reports - Sheep husbandry, 1989


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Sheep Husbandry

· Report by the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare

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The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

SHEEP HUSBANDRY

Report by the

Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare

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Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra

© Commonwealth of Australia 1989 ISBN 0 644 09622 5

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE OF AUSTRALIA

ptr.ll

, 3 9 7 OF 1989

Ordered to be nrlnted . ;iy

'1;)1

Printed in Australia by Plr!e Printers Sales Pzy Ltd, pYshwick, ACJr 26CYi1

MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMITTEE

Members

Senator A.R. Devlin , Chairman

Senator D. Brownhill

Senator P . H. Calvert

Senator B. Cooney

Senator J. Morris

Senator N.K. Sanders

*

**

***

From l July 1985

From 21 August 1985 From 24 September 1987

Former Members

***

Senator Jack Evans (Western Australia) -(7 December 1983 - 30 June 1985)

Senator J . M. Hearn -<7 December 1983 - 30 June 1985>

***

Senator the Hon. D.B. Scott (New South Wales) -<7 December 1983 - 30 June 1985>

Senator J.R. Siddons (Victoria> -<1 July 1985 - 21 August 1985)

Senator G. Georges -<7 December 1983 - 5 June 1987)

Secretary

P. Barsdell The Senate Parliament House Canberra

iii

CONTENTS

Prefac e

Lis t of Ac ronyms

Glossary

CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 2 - THE BASIC NEEDS OF THE SHEEP

Introduction Nutrition Water Protection from predators

Protection from climatic extremes Heat Cold

CHAPTER 3 - LAMBS 1 LAMBING AND LAMB MARKING

Introduction Current lambing practices T i ming Place

Timing of lambing in relation to shearing The extent of supervision Lamb losses The extent of lamb losses

Factors impeding lamb survival Is there an acceptable level of lamb losses? Reduction of lamb losses Lamb marking

Earmarking Tail docking Castration General marking welfare issues Lamb losses after marking

CHAPTER 4 - THE SHEEP BLOWFLY AND ITS CONTROL

Introduction Sheep blowflies The life cycles of L. Cuprina Susceptibi lity of sheep to b l owfly str ike

v

Page

i x

xiii

xiv

1

11 12 15 18

19 19 2 0

25 26 26 26

27 28 30 30

30 32 33 34

35 36 38 42 43

45 46 46 47

Bre ech strike Body strike Othe r strikes Effects of blowfly strike on the sheep Preventio n and contro l o f flystrike

Fly trapping Bio logical contro l Gene tic control Se l ective b reeding p r ogra mme s Mule sing Crutching Pizzle dropping Ch e mical control Vac c ination

CHAPTER 5 - OTHER HEALTH AND HANDLING ISSUES

Introduction I nternal parasites Foo trot Dehorning Teeth gri nding

Electro- immobilisation Handling techniques and facilities Marketing Intensive husbandry

Slaughter

CHAPTER 6 - SHEARING

Introduction The timing of shearing Sheep coats The shearing process Alternatives to conventional shearing

Biological wool harvesting Robotic shearing The future of shearing

CHAPTER 7 - REPRODUCTION

Introduction Traditional sheep reproduction Breeding objectives Manipulation of reproduction

Artificial insemination Embryo transfer Genetic engineering

vi

48 48 49 49 50 5 1

5 2

5 2

5 4 56 62 63 64 66

67 67 69 70 7 1 7 3

77 78 7 9

79

81 82 83 84 8 6

87 9 0 93

95 9 5 9 8

1 0 1 101 1 0 5 106

CHAPTER 8 - NATURAL DISASTERS

Introduction Bushfires Floods Drought

CHAPTER 9 - REGULATION

Introduction The present regulatory situation Codes of practice Rationale behind codes of practice

Limitations of codes of practice Increased monitoring

CHAPTER 10 - SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

ENDNOTES

APPENDIX I - LIST OF WITNESSES WHO APPEARED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE TO GIVE EVIDENCE ON SHEEP HUSBANDRY

vii

109 110 112 113

123 124 126 127

128 128

131

135

155

PREFACE

Appointment of the Committee and its terms of reference

Welfare February

The on 16

1985

Senate appointed the Select Committee on Animal and 17 November 1983 and reappointed it on 22

and again on 22 September 1987 in each new

Parliament to inquire into and report upon:

the question of animal welfare in Australia, with particular reference to:

(C) animal experimentation;

(dl codes of practice of animal

husbandry for all species; and

(e) the use of animals in sport.

As a result of the broad nature of the terms of

reference , the Committee decided to diVide the inquiry into a number of discrete areas and, as far as possible, to examine two

or more simultaneously. After preliminary public hearings in mid-1984, the Committee decided to examine kangaroos and the export of live sheep from Australia. It later added dolphins and

ix

whales in captivity to this priority list. The Committee reported on live sheep exports on 13 August 1985, on dolphins and whales in captivity on 29 November 1985 and on kangaroos on 1 June 1988. Its next priorities were animal experimentation, on which it

reported on 5 September 1989, and sheep husbandry.

The sheep husbandry issue

The Committee's decision to inquire into report on

aspects of on-farm sheep husbandry was motivated by concerns expressed to it during its inquiry into live sheep exports and by issues raised both in the media and in submissions to the

Committee by

organisations itself.

the

and by

general community, by animal

sections of the sheep and wool

welfare industry

Perceived sheep welfare problems have provoked much passionate, emotive and heated debate. By inquiring into these problems, the Committee hoped it might provide a forum in which all interested parties could outline their concerns and from which guidelines for constructive change in one of Australia 's most important industries might emerge .

Scope of the sheep husbandry inquiry

In this inquiry, the Committee has elected to consider only on-farm aspects of sheep husbandry, including the provision of food, water; shelter protection; control of injury and

disease; protection from predation; and appropriate handling.

The Committee will reserve its consideration of sheep transportation issues, saleyards, abattoirs, and i ntensive production for inquiries into these issues across species.

X

Conduct of the inquiry

The Committee received numerous submissions which

touched on or were wholly devoted to sheep husbandry issues. It heard evidence from 31 organisations or private individuals, on various aspects of sheep welfare. In addition, Committee members visited the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Western Australia, to observe robotic shearing; Merino Wool

Harvesting in Adelaide, to observe electro-immobilisation; sheep properties at Tarago, New South Wales, to observe lamb marking and mulesing, and at Menindee, to observe arid zone production. They later visited the CSIRO Division of the Mechanical

Environment to inspect the Auto-trough designed by Mr Tony

Miller.

Acknowledgements

The Committee would like to thank all the organisations and individuals who contributed to this inquiry through their submissions or evidence given at public hearings.

In particular, Committee members would like to thank all the organisations and individuals who made possible the

Committee's visits to observe sheep husbandry practices and procedures. They include Mr James Trevelyan and staff of the

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Western Australia; Dr James Baxter and staff of Merino Wool Harvesting; Mr J. Caskey of ''Larloona", Menindee; and Mr Robert Campbell and

family of "Euroka", Tarago, and the Officers of the NSW

Agriculture and Fisheries and the Sheepmeat Council who organised that visit and accompanied Committee members during it.

Thanks also go to Mr Tony Miller, Officers of the CSIRO Division of the Mechanical Environment and of Mono-Pumps, who demonstrated and discussed features of the Auto-trough.

xi

ABARE

ABS

AFIC

AFWA

AMLRDC

ANZFAS

AVA

AVCA

AWC

CALM

CEP

CSIRO

DSE

EGF

FAWC

!ED

MWH

NTP

PSMG

RSPCA

SCAW

SIRM

LIST OF ACRONYMS

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Feeds Information Centre Australian Federation for the Welfare of Animals Australian Meat and Live-stock Research and Development

Corporation Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies Australian Veterinary Association

Australian Veterinary Chemicals Association Australian Wool Corporation Computer-aided Livestock Marketing Community Employment Program

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Dry Sheep Equivalent Epidermal Growth Factor

Farm Animal Welfare Council Income Equalisation Deposits Merino Wool Harvesting Pty. Ltd. National Tree Program

Pregnant Mare Serum Gonadotrophin Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Sub-committee on Animal Welfare Sterile Insect Release Method

xiii

GLOSSARY

anthelmintics: substances given to expel parasitic wo rms.

beta-endorphin: a peptide from the pituitary gland.

cortisol: a steroid from the adrenal gland.

cryptorchidism: condition induc ed by forcing the testicle s of ram lambs up close to the body and placing a

ring around the empty scrotum. The animals retain male characteristics but cannot sire young.

cutaneous myiasis: the invasio n of sheep skin by fly larvae; flystrike . dermatophilosis: lumpy wool; a disease caused by the bacterium D e rmatophilu s c o n g olensis. The bacteria

infect the skin, causing scabs which lift with the growing fleece.

dystocia: difficulty during lambing.

hypocalcaemia: condition exhibiting the the symptoms of a deficiency of total calcium circulating in the bloodstream.

hypoglycaemia: deficiency of sugar in the blood.

immunocastration: immunisation of male animals against their own male hormone, testosterone, to prevent sperm production.

mulesing: the surgical removal of strips of loose,

wool-bearing skin from the breach and tail of the sheep.

pregnancy toxaemia: an acute metabolic disorder occurring during the last few weeks of pregnancy, typically i n ewes carrying twins or triplets.

prolactin:

transgenic:

a hormone associated with lactation and secreted by the pituitary gland.

animal which contains foreign DNA integrated into its own chromosomes.

xiv

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 The sheep, Ovis aries, evolved in the mountains of

Eurasia about two and a half million years ago and was one of the

earliest species to be domesticated.l For 12 000 years, sheep and man have lived in a symbiotic relationship. The sheep has

provided man with food and clothing; man has provided the sheep with nourishment and protection from predation.

1 . 2 Feral sheep are known to exist in parts of the world,

although it is unlikely that they do so in Australia. Australian sheep raised in the pastoral zone have frequently been described as semi-feral.2 It can be assumed, however, that most Australian sheep are essentially dependent on man for their well-being.

1.3 By domesticating sheep, man has asserted his control

over them. He has removed most freedom of choice in essential

matters from them. He has changed their genes, their behaviour, their ability to fare for themselves, their environment.

Present-day sheep in Australia cannot readily escape from man's dominion: they must adapt to the conditions provided, or die.

More sheep are polled than not; the only defences left to them

are flocking and stamping their feet. Man, as a moral agent, is

therefore morally obliged to exert responsible stewardship over . them.

1.4 Man's responsibility towards sheep was generally

accepted by those who gave evidence to the Committee. The RSPCA

1

1.5 term,

It is generally accepted that when we keep

animals for purposes of our own

work, for recreation or for production) we

acquire a responsibility for them we

accept our obligations to look after the m,

keep them healthy and in some senses 'happy'

and to avoid cruelty and suffering whether

deliberate or not.3

What was less clear was what was encompassed by the

"sheep welfare", and which, if any, current husbandry

practices ran counter to that term.

1.6 Sheep welfare has been described as a state of complete

mental and physical health in which the sheep lives in harmony with its environment. The Sub-committee on Animal Welfare of the Standing Committee on Agriculture stated:

with due regard to their species and

breeds, animals in the care of man should be

protected from suffering and husbanded in a manner appropriate to their physical and

behavioural needs in accordance with

established experience and scientific

knowledge.4

1.7 Unfortunately, in the

knowledge" concerning evidence suffering is far from complete.

case of sheep, the "scientific of the existence and extent of

Indicators of well-being or of

suffering have included biochemical and behavioural measures, the presence of disease, and productivity indicators.

1.8 Biochemical markers, such as cortisol levels, have been

advanced as the most useful objective indicators presently

available of distress in sheep, despite the fact that cortisol levels also rise in association with pleasant stimuli, such as exercise, copulation, or feed expectation.S Other biochemical indicators such as beta-endorphins and other peptides have also also been considered valuable as distress indicators in welfare investigations.

2

1.9 Behavioural indicators have been advanced as a necessary

corollary to biochemical indicators as pointers t o sheep

well-being. By studying normal species-specific behaviour, such as flocking preferences in Merinos, aberrations from the norm can be identified and rectified if necessary. Guidelines f or the

recognition of pain in sheep have been published, and inc lude

signs such as a depressed appearance, little interest in

surroundings, teeth grinding, grunting.6 Preference tests and behavioural measures of aversion assist in clarifying what the sheep thinks about husbandry practices.

1.10 It is certain that sheep can experience pain, but pain

threshholds vary from sheep to sheep.7 The Committee considers there is little to be achieved in attempting to establish pain

threshhold levels for any given husbandry procedure, because of the subjective nature of the phenomenon which is being dealt

with.

1.11 Good physical health is equated with the absence of

disease and is clearly a pre-requisite for sheep well-being.

Obvious disturbances of physical health, such as lameness or lice

infestation, are generally agreed to be signs of suffering. Yet short-term suffering may not have visible effects on physical health, and apparently healthy animals may exhibit physiological and behavioural abnormalities.8

1.12 Productivity measures such as wool growth, bodyweight, o r reproductive success have sometimes been advanced as objective

indicators of a sheep's well-being. However, sheep in a

satisfactory welfare situation may exhibit a wide range of

individual production levels. The rate of clean wool growth of adult Merinos, for example, may vary from 1.6 grams/day to 20.2 grams/day.9 Suffering may be reflected by a fall in productivity, but it would be an oversimplification to consider that it always

is.10 Growth is not inconsistent with periods of acute,

transitory, physical suffering; growth can, on occasions, be a pathological symptom.

3

1.13 While the precise parameters of sheep welfare are

difficult to define, the Committee was left in no doubt about the features of sheep production which were deemed by certain groups and individuals to be inimical to the well-being of sheep.

Practices which attracted attention included surgical procedures such as tail-docking, castration and mulesing; rearing and

shearing practices which allow sheep and lambs to be exposed to extremes of heat or cold; deficient nutrition; inadequate

supervision; unpreparedness for natural disasters. The

desirability of raising sheep in the semi-arid zones of Australia was questioned on both welfare and ecological grounds. These, and related issues, are considered by the Committee in this report.

1.14 Production methods have to be viewed in the context of

the economics of the industry. Economic considerations do

influence production, and it is necessary to recognise that. The Australian sheep and wool industry has a long and proud history, but one that has been plagued by uncertainty, by the vicissitudes of nature and of international trade.

1.15 Wool

1807, to the

described as generation of introduction

has been a major Australian export industry since extent that we as a nation have been frequently

"riding on the sheep's back". Generation after

Australian schoolchildren have learnt of the

of the first 26 Spanish Merinos from the Cape of

Good Hope in 1797; of Captain John Macarthur's advocacy of wool as a suitable fledgling export commodity; of the success of his exports of it to England from 1807 onwards; of the subsequent

expansion of settlement and sheep inland; of the development of fencing when labour vanished at the onset of the gold rushes; of the romance of the riverboats and bullock drays bearing bales of wool to market.

1.16 The significance of the sheep and wool industry to

Australia cannot be understated, and it is a significance which goes far beyond monetary value. As Dr Rose pointed out:

4

1 .1 7

The values of rural life are an integral and

important component of Australian culture . We all benefit and our lives are enriche d by

values derive d from the relationship between the farme r, his livestock and the land. We

would all b e that much p oorer if that

component of o ur social matrix was lost.11

In March 198 8 , Australia's sheep populatio n numbered 161.8 million. In the 1 98 7-88 financial year, Australia produced i ts largest ever wool c lip of 851 mkg,

exported, and the value of which

97 per cent of which was

was $5 . 7 billion.12 In

int e rnational terms , the Australian sheep flock repre sents about 20 pe r cent of the world's sheep and produces over 28 per cent of

the total annual production of wool.13 In addition, 153 286

tonnes of lamb and mutton were exported in 1987-88, at a value of $298 million.14

1.18 The sheepmeat and wool industries are of economic

significance domestically, as well . Eighty-two per cent of lamb and 43 per cent of mutton produced in 1987-88 were consumed by

t he Australian market, with per capita consumption averaging 14 . 9 kg for lamb and 7.1 kg for mutton.15 Australia's per capita

domestic consumption of wool in 1987-88 was one of the world's highest, at 2.09 kg.16

1.19 In 1987-88, the sheep and wool industry was Australia's

largest single export earner.17 The above statistics reinforce the pre-eminence of the industry. Yet the other side of the coin i s the fact that wool enjoys only a five per cent share of the

world's textile market, and is constantly under threat from

i mproved synthetics. Sheepmeat too lags behind beef, poultry and pigmeat in constantly the apparent consumption stakes.18 Sheep producers are

reminded that, unless their industry remains highly competitive, it will cease to be viable. If the industry ceases to be profitable, there will be few sheep left to be concerned

about.

5

1.20 It is against this backdrop of constant pressure to

remain viable in the face of fluctuating commodity demand and value, rising costs, and uncertain conditions that sheep welfare must

and unpredictable be viewed. But

Committee noted in its report on live sheep exports:

society has a duty to see that undue

suffering is not caused to animals, and we

cannot accept that that duty should be set

aside in order that food may be produced more cheaply. Where unacceptable suffering can be eliminated only at extra cost, that cost

should be borne or the product foregone. On

the other hand all methods of domestic

livestock rearing entail some loss of freedom, and where an imperfect but not unacceptable system can be improved only at

disproportionate cost, it may be unreasonable to insist that this be done.19

climatic as the

1.21 In this report, the Committee has been concerned to

weigh up the extent to which economic considerations should

influence production methods, when those methods may adversely affect the welfare of sheep in the short or long term, and to

strike a balance between welfare and economic considerations as compassionately yet as objectively as possible.

1.22 The Committee is concerned that the sheep welfare debate has been seen as yet another example of the rural/urban dichotomy existing in affluent western societies. It has been pointed out that more than 80 per cent of Australians now live in towns or

cities.20 These are people whose values about animals and their appropriate treatment are formed with reference to companion animals; and who, it is asserted, are separated from groups using sheep to provide their livelihood by a great cultural divide.

1.23 This explanation has sometimes been advanced to show

that persons calling for changes to the methods of sheep

production could not possibly know what they were talking about, and that such decisions were best left to the farmers themselves.

6

The Committee was, however, impressed with the overall awareness

of welfare considerations and their consequences by all groups and individuals who appeared before it, whether or not they had a pecuniary interest in the industry.

1 . 24 As the Committee's inquiry progressed, it became

apparent that both sheep producers and sheep welfare

organisations realised that if their debate remained polarised, sheep welfare would suffer. Producers came to accept that welfare groups had legitimate concerns about sheep. They further

acknowledged that some of their own practices could be improved. Animal welfare groups acknowledged that some of their proposals were unreasonable, and were prepared to modify them. While

complete agreement has not yet been reached, it has nevertheless been heartening for the Committee to see that the protagonists are now prepared to engage in constructive debate on the issues which still separate them.

1.25 The Committee is aware that many of the sheep welfare

issues raised in this inquiry are not within the Commonwealth's jurisdiction. A number of groups and individuals clearly

considered this to be an unfortunate aberration on the part of the drafters of the Australian Constitution.21 Nevertheless, the Committee inquired into these matters because they were of

concern to the wider community and because it was perceived that no other appropriate forum existed for their airing.

1.26 One area in which there is federal responsibility is in

research funding. The government has a commitment to match the sheep and wool industry contributions to research and development up to 0.5 per cent of the gross value of production,22 although

at present the wool industry's contribution is only 0.35 per

cent.23 Much research work stems from grants from the industry's two major funding bodies, the Wool Research and Development

7

Council of the Australian Wool Corporation and the Australian Meat and Live-stock Research and Development Corporation .

Federally-funded agencies, such as CSIRO and the universities, carry out the bulk of the research work, often in conjunc tion

with the state departments of agriculture.

1.27 The importance of research was acknowledged by the

Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, the Han. John Kerin,

when he opened the World Sheep and Wool Congress in Hobart on 1

March 1989:

1 . 28

The key to further productivity gains ... lies

in effective research and development(R&D). A strong, market-oriented R&D effort, coupled with the effective uptake of new technology by industry, is essential ... In order to sustain

a major R&D research effort resources both

human and capital must be further developed and the effective and timely translation of research results into industry practice is

vital.24

Throughout this report, the Committee has recommended further research on a number of matters. The Committee is

convinced essential that research on issues which and should be strongly

affect sheep welfare is supported. Given the

productivity gains which would also result from improved sheep welfare, this makes good economic sense as well as meeting

ethical concerns. It is important that the appropriate research agencies are adequately supported financially to carry out the research recommended in this report. The industry may need to take a more proactive role and seek out worthwhile research

projects, if indeed a lack of them has been the explanation for

the build-up of funds in the Wool Research Trust Fund to over $70 million at 30 June

1.29 From the beginning of this inquiry, the Committee has

considered not only the specific welfare issues raised but also the concomitant problem of what to do when flagrant breaches of acceptable welfare standards occur. Each State has legislation

8

which deals with cruelty to animals, legislation which varies somewhat in the detail of offences and in the scale of penalties. It is generally accepted that such legislation is useful to cover cases of gross cruelty to, or neglect of, sheep. The number of

cases which reach the courts is probably more a reflection of the resources of the RSPCA and other bodies employing inspectors empowered under the respective acts, than of the frequency of

abuses. Furthermore, husbandry practices such as mulesing are specifically excluded from the cruelty to animals legislation.

1 . 30 There are clearly limitations as to what legislation can

achieve. It is unlikely to do much to change human behaviour or

to affect human motives. In this report, the Committee considers the respective roles and strengths of legislation and codes of accepted welfare practice, bearing in mind that sheep welfare depends on the interaction of the stockman, the sheep and the

environment, and while advice can be proferred to the stockmen, it is most difficult to control the implementation of that

advice.

1.31 It is not misguided to concern ourselves over animals

which are bred to die, some at a tender age. The moral issue is

the quality of life, while that life exists. The Committee is

convinced that humane stewardship of sheep, allied with

ecologically sensitive land management, is the key to ethically sound sheep production. In this report, it considers how best

that can be achieved.

9

CHAPTER 2

THE BASIC NEEDS OF THE SHEEP

Introduction

2.1 A draft mo d e l code of practice for the welfare of sheep

has been circulated for discussion and comment by the

Sub-committee on Animal Welfare of the Animal Health Committee of

t he Australian Agricultural Council. In its current introduction ,

it lists the following basic requirements for the welfare of

sheep:

A level of nutrition adequate to sustain good health and vigour.

Access to sufficient water of suitable quality to meet physiological needs . Social contact with other sheep; but with sufficient space to stand, to lie down and

stretch their limbs. Protection from predation. Protection from pain, injury and disease.

Protection from extremes of climate which may be life threatening.

Provision of reasonable precautions against the effects of natural disasters e.g. firebreaks and fodder storage.

Handling facilities which under normal usage do not cause injury and which minimise stress to the sheep . 1

The Committee considers the above points broadly cover sheep welfare needs. In this chapter, the Committee will consider in more detail nutritional and water requirements and protection

11

from predation and climatic extremes. Natural disasters will be considered in chapter 8, while injuries and diseases will be

covered in chapters 4 and 5 and handling issues in chapter 6.

Nutrition

2.2 Most witnesses who presented evidence to the Committee

stressed how critical the provision of adequate nutrition was to sheep welfare.2 In particular, the amount, quality and continuity of feed to maintain health and to meet the specific physiological requirements for growth, pregnancy, lactation and cold stress were highlighted. The need to protect sheep from harmful plants was also pointed out.

2.3 Sheep in Australia normally feed entirely on pasture and

pasture products such as hay or silage. Grain is generally only provided during droughts, or in feedlots. Most of the pasture is indigenous, greatly exceeding the 25 million hectares that have been "improved".3 It is susceptible to rainfall variations and depredation by insects and native fauna, and its quality declines as the growing season advances. Most fodder is conserved in the form of hay, and most of this is turned over on an annual basis

as supplementary feed, rather than held as a drought reserve.

2.4 Two major welfare issues emerged from the evidence on

sheep nutrition received by the Committee. Firstly, there was the question of undernutrition, particularly of certain classes of sheep, when pasture was inadequate in quality or quantity; and secondly, there was the issue of the welfare of sheep in

droughts. The latter is considered by the Committee in chapter 8.

2.5 The Dry Sheep Equivalent system is an approximate

means of comparing the energy requirements of different classes of animals. In the last two months of pregnancy, the average DSE for Merino ewes carrying a single lamb has been estimated at 1.1,

12

carrying twins 1.3 and for crossbreds 1.7. Lacta ting Merinos have an energy requirement 2.4 times that of a dry sheep, while that

of lactating crossbreds is 3.6 DSE.4 Weaned lambs weighing 15 kg and gaining 200 grams per day have a DSE of 1.6.5

2.6 l ow

Inadequate birth weight of nutrition during late pregnancy results in lambs, a reduced milk supply and hence a

lower chance of lamb survival. It may also result in ewe and

foetal loss through pregnancy toxaemia or "twin lamb disease". If a ewe cannot take in the additional quality feed she requires to sustain herself and her foetuses which are doubling in weight at this time, she will draw on her own body reserves. Blood glucose

levels may fall below those needed to nourish the vital organs and death results. Hypocalcaemia or milk fever caused by a sudden drop in calcium intake can also cause the death of ewes in late

pregnancy while an inadequate intake of magnesium can result in grass tetany in lactating ewes.6 Good management techniques, such as the provision of supplementary calcium, are essential for the welfare of the sheep.

2.7 The Committee accepts that most sheep producers are well

aware of the increased energy and nutrient requirements of their ewe s in late pregnancy and during lactation. However, it appears

that many producers are not fully aware of the nutritive levels of their pastures, despite the efforts of the State departments of agriculture, the Australian Feeds Information Centre (AFIC> and other bodies.

2.8 The AFIC database, operated by the CSIRO Division of

Animal Production in co-ordination with the State departments of agriculture, has been set up to overcome the lack of information on the quality of available feeds. Quality is determined by an assessment of the energy, protein, mineral and amino acid content

of the feedstuffs, and mathematical models and simulation

programs are being developed to assist in the provision of

specific recommendations on the type and quantity of feed

supplements required.? This information is then disseminated to farmers and feed manufacturers.

13

2.9 Other nutrition-related management issues include the

importance of allowing the ewe to remain undisturbed in late

pregnancy, so that she can graze without hindrance. Transporting, crutching, shearing or even bad weather can limit the ewe's feed intake at this crucial timeS and may cause death.

2 . 10 The nutritional implications of cold stress are largely

determined by the sheep's condition, by its wool cover and by the availability of shelter. Sheep with even a few centimetres of

wool are extremely cold tolerant and able to tolerate air

'temperatures below freezing without elevation of metabolic

rate. New-born lambs and newly-shorn sheep, however, find cold far more stressful. The heat loss and cold stress induced by

shearing can create an immediate demand for up to 50 per cent

more food

susceptible bodyweight,

than pre-shearing.9 New-born lambs are extremely to the cold, particularly if they are of low

and need access to a plentiful and rich supply of

milk within minutes of birth and at regular intervals thereafter in order to survive in low ambient temperatures, particularly if conditions are also wet and windy. In order to provide that milk, the ewe herself must have access to feed of ample quantity and

quality, and within easy reach so that she does not abandon her lamb in the process of finding feed.

2.11 For the sheep producer who raises animals in cold

climates, or where cold, wet and windy conditions prevail at a time when pasture growth is reduced in quality or quantity,

supplementary feeding will probably be necessary, particularly if there are newly-shorn sheep or new-born lambs. The Committee urges all sheep producers who are uncertain as to the nutritive value of their pastures to have them tested, and to supplement

them as necessary.

14

2.12 Another approach which should be considered in the

longer term ii pasture improvement. Considerable research effort has gone into improving the productivity of pastures, determining their nutrient status, improving their use by sheep and

understanding the principles governing the role of nutrition in wool and meat production, reproduction and lamb survival.

Research into clover cultivars, for example, has shown that some have a reduced oestrogen content, contributing to reduced

fertility. By developing strains of clover which avoid this

problem and which also are more digestible, researchers will make a significant contribution to both animal welfare and

production.lO It is imperative that such research advances be conveyed to the farming community in such a way that they are

both meaningful and easy to be acted upon.

2.13 The Committee does not propose to advance specific

guidelines on the appropriate nutrition of Australian sheep. Advice on nutrition issues is readily available from the State departments of agriculture and other extension services. The Committee encourages those departments to be more aggressive in

publicising their nutritional guidelines, particularly in times of natural disasters. The Committee believes, however, that firm steps should be taken against the few producers who knowingly and wilfully undernourish their animals. This matter is addressed in

Chapter 9.

Water

2.14 Sheep require access to water of sufficient quality and

quantity.11 The demands sheep make on water vary according to breed, age, salt and water content of pasture, topography and

size of paddock and from individual to individua1.12 As a general guideline, however, the draft code of practice suggests that

sheep should not be deprived of water for more than 48 hours.13

15

2.15 In temperate regions, sheep can remain healthy on green

feed without drinking, although Merinos deprived of water tend to graze at night to benefit from the dew and leaf exudate. It is

suggested that individual sheep vary in the efficiency of their water conservation, in their sheltering behaviour and in their ability to select pasture high in water content, since sheep in these regions may travel to water with a frequency varying from one to three days even in the summer.14

2.16 Water supply becomes an issue of significance to animal

welfare particularly in the pastoral or semi-arid zones, where sheep may take in up to 200 g of salt per day by grazing

saltbush. To excrete salt, it is estimated that sheep require an intake of 30 ml/g and hence may need to make two trips daily to

water. This automatically reduces the distance they can forage away shown and

from the water source. In saltbush country, it has been

that sheep tend to remain within three kilometres of water overgraze the area around the waterhole. The bodyweight gain of Merino lambs declines as the distance between food and water increases beyond 1.6 km.15

2.17 The siting of watering points, especially in extensive

grazing areas, has obvious implications for sheep welfare. Sheep will lose condition if they are forced to walk too far to water,

thus reducing the time available for grazing and curtailing the area available for grazing. In extreme conditions, they will die.

2.18 In most States, financial assistance for water supply

work is available, although the terms and conditions vary. In

Queensland, for example, farm water supply loans for stock

purposes are available from the Water Resources Commission at 13.5 per cent interest, while in New South Wales for farmers of moderate means and dependent on farm income, loans are available from the Water Resources Commission at an interest rate of 4.5 per cent.

16

2.19 The Committee believes that, following a good season,

sheep producers should be encouraged to take advantage of the financial assistance available to upgrade farm water supplies, not only for the future benefit to stock but also as a soil

conservation measure.

2 . 20 Sheep welfare is affected not only by the provision of

adequate quantities of water, appropriately located, but by the quality of that water. Water quality is determined by such

factors as salinity, mineral content, cleanliness and

temperature. Water containing total soluble salts above 15 000 parts per million is considered generally unsuitable for all

stock16 although one witness indicated to the Committee that 17 000 parts per million was an acceptable concentration.17

Algae-infested water can be lethal to sheep, while muddy water or water polluted by animal manure, pasture residues or

miscellaneous objects blown or washed into it is often disliked, especially by weaners, some of whom may refuse to drink it.l8

2.21 The Committee was interested to learn of one device

which is being developed to overcome the problem of water quality in troughs. The "Autotrough" skims off the hot and dirty surface water, separates the pollutants and removes them, and puts the clean water back into the storage tank. Trough water remains at a

temperature of approximately 16 degrees. Preliminary research on the effects of using the "Autotrough" has indicated a

' productivity increase of around ten per cent.19 It therefore has the potential to serve both welfare and productivity ends. Mr Tony Miller, the inventor of the "Autotrough", pointed to

additional possibilities of his device as a means of

administering mineral supplements or medications.20

2.22 The

innovations, Committee was encouraged to see that such

which show evidence of both welfare and production benefits, are being developed in the industry. The Committee believes that a positive industry stance towards encouraging and publicising new and improved production methods, techniques and

products would assist in defusing the criticisms of some sections of the public.

17

Protection from predators

2.23 The chief predators of sheep and lambs in Australia are

ravens, eagles, dingoes, feral and domesticated dogs, foxes and feral pigs. Losses due to predation are thought to be generally small, however individual flocks in susceptible environments such as urban fringes may experience heavy losses.21 Dr Crossing, then Director of the Bureau of Animal Welfare in the Victorian

Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, indicated that in his State, "significant numbers" of sheep were killed annually on hobby farms in outer metropolitan areas.22

2.24 In the semi-arid zone, the extent of predation of the

sheep flock can generally only be guessed at. One study in New

South Wales showed that lamb marking percentages were reduced by 40 per cent because of predation by feral pigs. 23 Over 600 lambs , including healthy lambs up to one week old, were killed and eaten by the pigs.24

2.25 The New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries in one of

its advice sheets for farmers recommends that in areas where

predation is known to be a problem, producers should all lamb at roughly the same time.25

2.26 The traditional method of wild or feral predator

prevention has been the electric fence, particularly for lambing paddocks. Attempts at predator control have been via shooting or trapping.26 As the Committee has yet not sought evidence on the subject of the control of wild or feral animals, it will defer

making recommendations until it has obtained such evidence.

18

2.27 Similarly, on the question of the depredations by

companion animals, the Committee has not yet actively sought evidence on appropriate methods of control. The Committee

deplores the suffering caused to sheep by domestic dogs. The

Committee believes, however, that the solution must come as part of the broader issue of dog control.

Protection from climatic extremes

2.28 It has been asserLed that Merino sheep, which constitute

75 per cent of the Australian flock, are well adapted to the heat and can tolerate most extremes likely in sheep-raising districts by normal physiological adaption.27 Sheep exposed to heat usually react by seeking shade, when shade is unavailable or when the

sheep have to walk to water, they increase their heat loss by

increased blood flow to the skin and by enhanced evaporation by sweating and panting.28

2 . 29 quality It is likely that sheep are more affected by poor feed than by the heat itself, though sheep which are

unacclimatised may reduce their feed intake, as will others when the high temperatures come unexpectedly. Reproductive performance of rams is lower in the heat, as is the fertility of ewes.29

2 . 30 New-born lambs in temperatures above 37° have been shown

to have a high mortality rate. Shade-seeking by the ewe helps

facilitate lamb survival, and shade-seeking is practised by most sheep in hot weather, though some individuals do not seek shade, even when it is available.30 It may be that these are the more

submissive sheep, which elect not to share the shade with others of higher ranking. It seems likely, however, that heat does not unduly stress grown sheep in wool.

19

2.31 The provision of shade is probably not in itself a

crucial sheep welfare issue, but as the provision of shade

normally also means the provision of shelter, it has to be of

benefit to the sheep, as well as possibly assisting in soil and

pasture conservation. The Committee therefore concludes that adequate shade should be provided for sheep in hot weather.

2.32 Sheep with even a few centimetres of wool are extremely

cold-tolerant. However, newly-shorn sheep and new-born lambs do not have the advantage of this insulation and hence suffer from hypothermia when their body cannot produce heat at the same rate at which it is lost. Cold, windy and wet conditions, particularly when they are prolonged or unseasonal, can then cause excessive

losses of sheep in the first two to three weeks after shearing.

2.33 The extent of losses of mature newly-shorn sheep from

hypothermia was outlined to the Committee by numerous witnesses. ANZFAS described the loss of more than 30,000 such sheep in the

western districts of Victoria in November 1987, following severe gales, rain and low temperatures.31

2.34 The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicated that for the year 1986-87, there was a total of 2,265,925 sheep and

lambs lost in New South Wales, out of a total of 52 million sheep and lambs shorn, while in Queensland for the same year, there

were 913,861 sheep and lamb losses.32 These losses are not

restricted to sheep which died of cold exposure but include

animals which died of illness or were taken by predators.

2.35 Figures for sheep losses occasioned directly or

indirectly as a result of cold stress are difficult to obtain.

The ABS collects even its non-specific loss statistics only from two States, New South Wales and Queensland. The other States do not bother with such figures in the annual Agricultural Census conducted in March. It may be that they consider such sheep

mortality figures unreliable, as does Dr Alexander, President of the Australian Federation for the Welfare of Animals , who

20

pointed out the impossibility of obtaining an accurate assessment of the numbers of sheep which died, particularly on extensive

properties. He also suspected that some farmers' returns might be based on tax minimisation motives.33

2.36 The contribution of cold exposure losses to overall

sheep and lamb losses is generally thought to be considerable.34 Mrs Townend cited New South Wales Department of Agriculture research which pointed to inclement weather being the principal reason for one million sheep losses annually in the 30 days

following shearing.35

2.37 Lamb deaths are estimated from the number of ewes mated

minus the number of lambs marked. This fails to allow for the

number of barren ewes, and is at best a rough estimate of lamb

mortality, which is very generally put at an average of 25 per

cent for Merinos throughout Australia. Preliminary figures for the percentage of lambs marked to ewes mated for 1988 for all

breeds was 81 per cent, ranging from a low of 64 per cent in

Queensland to a high of 88 per cent in Victoria . 36 Cold exposure is a major factor in starvation, which has been estimated to

account for 58 per cent of lamb losses.37

2.38 Much research has been conducted into the efficacy of

the various means of reducing sheep and lamb losses from

hypothermia. The provision of shelter is generally considered the most important preventative measure, with sheds which provide complete protection being the most effective in eliminating mortality in sheep.38 Stands of trees, planted mixed windbreaks

or shelter belts of tall, unpalatable grasses have all proved

useful, if appropriately positioned.

21

2.39 Sheep do not automatically use available shelter,

parti cularly if they are in wool,39 and indeed may move away from it, travelling with the wind until stopped by fence s .

Ne verthe less, the provision of shelter brings about proven

be ne fit s in survival terms. In one five-year study at Armidale ,

Ne w South Wales, involving the use of Phalaris grass windbreaks

positioned at 20 metre intervals, the survival rate of single

fine-woolled Merino lambs was improved by 10 per cent and o f

multiple births by 32 per cent . 40

2.40 Dr Foot, a research scientist with the Victori a n

Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, pointed out that the shelter needs of sheep are quite variable and for comple t e

protection, they need to be under something as well as protected from the wind.41 However, for new-born lambs, winds of ten km / h o r more seem to be implicated as a major killer42 and hence

anything which reduces the wind speed will increase the length o f time the lamb has to drink, and thus its survival chances will be enhanced.43

2.41 To maintain a good ecological balance between cleared

and timbered land, as well as to meet the shade and shelter needs of stock and to minimise soil erosion, a minimum of five per cent of tree cover has been recommended.44

2.42 Industry representatives acknowledged that "Providing adequate shelter is good management"45 and asserted that "Shelter generally is adequate".46 The Committee is not convinced that this is the case.

2.43 Committee members were heartened by the attitude of Mr

Robert Campbell, whose property "Euroka" at Tarago they visited. Since purchasing the property in 1977, Mr Campbell has embarked on an ambitious tree-planting programme, with 10,000 trees, both pines and native species, planted in 1987-88 alone. The results include total sheep and lamb losses of no more than three per per annum.

22

2.44 Encouragement and financial assistance at all levels is

currently being provided to encourage the planting of trees.

Since 1982, the National Tree Program has established a national linking government agencies in all States

and Territories and a wide range of non-government organisations, particularly under the auspices of Greening Australia, to promote and undertake tree projects.

2 . 45 One example of the kind of activity undertaken has been

the support to the Victorian Farmers Federation for the

employment of a Farm Trees Executive Officer to promote

activities in the rural sector. This led to the increase in the

numbers of self-help Farm Tree Groups from four to 35 in three

years and with it, an expansion of the numbers of effective tree projects.47

2.46 In New South Wales, again under the aegis of the NTP,

the Riverina Trees on Farms Project is a joint project among the Department of Agriculture, the Forestry Commission, the Soil Conservation Service, community groups and landholders . Over half a million trees are being planted in a five-year period on ten

demonstration farms.48

2.47 In the Midlands region of Tasmania, where rural tree

decline has had a major impact on farm productivity, a Community Employment Program project to collect seed from a wide

range of local native tree species has been sponsored.49

2 . 48 Encouragement and support for the establishment and care of farm trees is readily available in all parts of the country.

The Committee encourages all sheep producers to take advantage of this assistance to ensure that in the coming years, adequate

shelter for stock will be provided. The Committee further

encourages sheep producers to consider the possible benefits of agroforestry. Evidence from New Zealand points to welfare gains, livestock productivity increases of 20 per cent and increased carrying capacity from the use of permeable perimeter shelter

belts and paddock-centre wood lots.50

23

2.49 Shelter sheds, if constructed of new materials, can be a

more expensive option than trees or other forms of shelter.

However, even the relatively simple two-sided and roofed

structures of wood and galvanised iron as are seen on the Monaro offer useful protection and certainly save the lives of many

new-born lambs and newly-shorn sheep. The Committee is of the

opinion that such shelters should be more widely available than they are in districts subject to extreme cold and wind, and where good tree growth cannot be easily established. For sheep weather alerts broadcast by the Bureau of Meteorology to be of any value to sheep producers, they must have sufficient available shelter

for their stock.

2.50 The use of sheep coats as protection against cold and

wind is considered by the Committee in Chapter 6. The Committee strongly advocates the use of sheep coats on all sheep after

shearing in cold climate sheep producing areas.

2.51 The Committee believes that sheep producers must take

all reasonable precautions to ensure that their sheep do not

suffer from climatic extremes. Depending on the location of their properties, this may mean the provision of stands of trees,

windbreaks, grass shelter belts, sheep coats or sheds. Failure to make such provision will inevitably result in animal suffering and loss. Producers who are not swayed by welfare considerations should at least be won over by the proven productivity gains from the provision of appropriate shelter. The Committee does not believe specific inducements, other than those already available, should be offered to farmers to provide shelter. It hopes that a growing awareness of the value of shelter provision will be

sufficient to ensure the necessary action. Should this not be the case, and should sheep continue to suffer and die from the lack

of adequate shelter, then sheep producers who permit this to

happen ought to be prosecuted under the relevant State prevention of cruelty to animals legislation.

24

CHAPTER 3

LAMBS 1 LAMBING AND LAMB MARKING

Introduction

3.1 Preliminary figures from the Australian Bureau of

Statistics for the year ended 31 March 1988 indicate that from

60 144 000 ewes mated in Australia, 48 738 000 lambs, or 81 per

cent, were marked. Marking percentages for the States ranged from a low of 64 per cent in Queensland to a high of 88 per cent in

Victoria. Overall lamb markings were up three per cent on the

previous year.l

3.2 Approximately 75 per cent of the Australian sheep flock

is Merino, and as the Merino is noted for its lower fecundity

than British breeds and crossbreds, it is perhaps unrealistic to expect high marking percentages in the States in which the Merino predominates, namely New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. These States have large areas of what the Australian Bureau of Arigultural and Resource Economics (ABARE>

terms the pastoral zone, which is deemed most suitable for

wool-producing

compared to 62.4 per cent in the pastoral zone.2

3.3 Border Leicester crosses are generally credited with the highest lamb output in Australia, with a maximum production from autumn mating of 160 per cent born.3

25

3.4 according to good

While marking percentages do vary significantly

to breed of sheep, many other factors more susceptible management practice can also influence the lambing outcome. They include the timing of lambing, the condition of the ewe, her mothering ability, the availability of shelter, the

presence of predators or pathological conditions and the

frequency of multiple births.

Current lambing practices

Timing

3.5 Lambing generally occurs in late winter to spring, or

autumn, with spring favoured by many wool-producing enterprises so that late pregnancy and lactation coincides with improving pasture production, and so that the joining takes place when more ewes are in oestrus in autumn. In meat production enterprises,

lambing can be scheduled f,or a specific market at a specific

time. Autumn lambing is sometimes favoured in cold districts, to avoid inclement weather, though of course inclement weather is known to occur in all seasons.

3.6 Of itself, the timing of lambing is not a major welfare

issue, provided that appropriate care is exercised in terms of nutrition of the ewes in late pregnancy and during lactation, and that shelter and supervision are provided as necessary.

3.7 In most flocks, lambing occurs in the paddock. In the

pastoral zone, this will probably be the paddock in which the

ewes were mated. Flock size may be several hundred ewes. In high rainfall areas, ewes may be "drifted" through a series of small paddocks daily, with those ewes which have lambed being left

behind with their lambs while the others are moved on. In rare

instances, ewes may lamb in sheds.

26

3.8 Departmental extension services recommend that lambing paddocks contain the following: an adequate quantity of high quality pasture for the duration of lambing; good water so that ewe s will not have to walk too far to it; and shelter. They

further recommend that they should be free of predators, provide access for supervision and be of a sufficient size to prevent the lamb stealing or mismothering which can occur at high stocking densities.4

Timing of lambing in relation to shearing

3.9 Lambing may take place some months after shearing, just

after shearing or before shearing. The Committee received

evidence supporting the practice of pre-lambing shearing on the grounds that a ewe deprived of her coat will seek shelter in

adverse climatic conditions and is thus more likely to lamb in

shelter, improving the survival chances of the lamb(s). Further, a shorn ewe is less likely to get cast when she goes down to

lamb.s

3.10 However, it was pointed out to the Committee that

shelter-seeking by the ewe is most pronounced if she is shorn

four days before lambing,6 a practice which would cause certain stress to the ewe and heighten her chances of developing

pregnancy toxaemia. Also a flock of ewes generally lambs over a four-to-six week period, so in management terms it would be

difficult to organise shearing at an appropriate time for each ewe. The additional nutritional needs of a shorn, pregnant ewe

pre-lambing shearing inadvisable if the required feed is

unavailable.

3.11 Other management considerations, such as the presence of grass seeds at certain times of the year, may dictate the timing of shearing. As Mrs Townend pointed out, both pre-lambing and post-lambing shearing have certain welfare risks, which need to

be weighed up by the individual producer.8

27

The extent of supervision

3.12 Australian sheep, with the exception of some stud

animals, are generally expected to lamb unaided. There is

evidence that producers are encouraged in their sheep breeding policies to select for traits which make for "easy care" sheep, such as easy lambing and good mothering skills.

3.13 The question of the desirable degree of supervision was

one point on which producers and others were at variance. The

former case was put by Mr Alan Bowman, representing the Wool

Council of Australia, who considered "sheep do better if they are left alone" with the qualification, "providing that surveillance is sufficient to obviate the obvious cases of dystocia ... ·.9

3.14 However, ANZFAS cited instances of inadequate

supervision, resulting in the death of hundreds of in-lamb ewes, and concluded that it was "vital that sheep be more closely

inspected season•.10 and Dr

shepherded, especially during the lambing

Brennan, Technical Adviser to the RSPCA

(Australia>, pointed out that if sheep were more regularly

supervised, the stress problems associated with inspection at lambing would be less likely to occur. He also advocated lambing in smaller spaces, and pointed to the success of the British

method of lambing in sheds.11

3.15 Many witnesses depicted the plight of sheep in the

semi-arid zones, for lack of supervision. Mr Miller, an

agricultural consultant, described these sheep as "semi-feral·.12 Mrs Townend wrote:

one of the most serious and basic flaws ... in

the sheep industry, is failure to provide

adequate labour input many Australian

sheep are relegated to huge outback areas

where, when they are injured, have troubles

lambing, become fly-struck, are mauled by

predators, there is no-body on hand to protect

28

them from injur y or death. Irregular

from days to weeks inspections, varying

production>, mean that sick injure d animals

die.l3

intensity of the

between inspections, are left t o suffe r or

3.16 The degree of supervision provided sheep at lambing

depends at least partly on the size of the prope rty and on the

inc linations of the producer. One-third of all sheep-raising properties run less than 500 sheep,l4 while the median flock size in Vi c toria is 700 head.15 Such numbers would not be beyond the

capabi l i ties of one perso n to shepherd adequately for the welfare

of the sheep.

3.1 7 On the other hand, two-thirds of Australia's sheep are

rai sed o n properties with 2000 or more sheep . While it is

virtually impossible to ascertain from the available manpower stat i stics the numbers of persons involved in tending these

a nimals, it seems likely that in some instances at least, Mrs

Townend ' s estimate of one labourer per 2000 sheep is not

inaccurate . l6 More intensive supervision may be available at lamb ing time, but there i s little evidence to suggest that it

a l ways is, and particularly not in extensive husbandry

situations.

3. 18 The RSPCA

s ubsidisation by the Commonwealth Employment Service of shepherds to assist producers during periods of peak labour demand, such as lambing time.17 The Committee is not convinced that this would be a helpful initiative. It is not the responsibility of governments

to assist primary producers in matters which are an essential and routine part of the product ion process . Nor is the Committee

conv inced that the temporary assistance proffered by raw and perhaps involuntary recruits would be of any real benefit to the sheep .

29

Lamb losses

The extent of lamb losses

3.19 As indicated in chapter 2, the precise extent of lamb

losses from conception to marking is difficult to determine. The figures which are officially available through the Australian Bureau of Statistics are calculated on the basis of producer

information supplied on returns to the annual March agricultural census. Lamb deaths are generally inferred by subtracting the figure for the number of lambs marked from the number of ewes

mated. This practice fails to allow for the number of barren

ewes, and it obscures the number of lamb losses in multiple

births. At best, the resultant figures are a rough indication of the level of loss.

3.20 Preliminary figures for the percentage of lambs marked

to ewes mated for 1987-88 for all breeds was 81 per cent, up 3

per cent on the previous year. The range was 64 per cent for

Queensland to 88 per cent for Victoria.18

3.21 In evidence received by the Committee, lamb losses

before marking were estimated at 20 per cent;19 20 per cent for singles and 40 per cent for twins;20 20 per cent,21 with

instances of losses rising to 80 per cent under extreme

conditions. Lamb mortality records from research cited by Dr Bell ranged from a low of 10.7 per cent to a high of 58 per cent.

Significantly more deaths occurred of twins; at high stocking rates; amongst lambs of maiden ewes; and amongst lambs born

earlier in the season.22

Factors impeding lamb survival

3.22 Perinatal lamb mortality may occur through starvation, mismothering, exposure to adverse climatic conditions, difficult birth, low birth weight, predators, infection or exposure to

30

other pathological conditions. In its submission to the

Committee, ANZFAS cited research which indicated that behavioural and physiological factors accounted for most of the lamb

mortality.23

3.23 Starvation may come about because the ewe is in poor

condition or lacks mothering ability; because the lamb is too

small or weak, has become separated from its mother, has suffered a birth injury or lacks suckling drive; or because of extremes of

climate which prevent the lamb from suckling, or suckling enough.

3.24 The nutrition of the ewe during pregnancy was singled

out by many witnesses as the most important factor affecting lamb survival.24 Information on the appropriate nutrition of ewes at joining and during pregnancy is readily available from State departments of agriculture and other extension services.25 If the

ewe is not provided with increased feed in the latter stages of

pregnancy, the result will be a lamb of low birth weight and a

poor maternal milk supply, both of which will endanger the life of the lamb. In the last six weeks before lambing, the ewe needs

ample feed to cater for the increased foetal growth and to guard against pregnancy toxaemia and chronic hypoglycaemia.

3.25 Nutrition falls within the sphere of influence of the

sheep producer and the Committee is firmly of the view that no

ewes should be mated if the producer cannot guarantee adequate nutrition for those animals for the ensuing nine months of

pregnancy additional should be

producer.

3.26

and lactation. If natural pastures become inadequate, feeding must be provided and any failure to do so

regarded as gross negligence on the part of the

The mothering ability of ewes is less amenable to

improvement by the sheep producer, although there is evidence to suggest that maiden ewes can learn from older sheep if they are

allowed to lamb together. Selective breeding programmes can be undertaken to ensure that ewes which consistently manage to rear lambs are retained in the flock.26

31

3.27 The provision of shelter is, after adequate nutrition

and selection for mothering skills, one of the most positive and practical steps producers can take to improve lamb survival

rates. Research into the value of various types of windbreaks has shown that in the northern tablelands of New South Wales, strips of Phalaris grass positioned at 20 metre intervals improved the survival rate of Merino lambs by up to 32 per cent.27

3.28 The timing of lambing is another management issue which

should be considered as a factor in improving lamb survival

rates. According to Professor Kennedy, avoiding summer lambing in the hot, semi-arid conditions of far western New South Wales was "the most obvious thing to do to improve lamb survival

rates•.28 Research in Hamilton, Victoria, showed that in cooler climates, early lambing in September produced greater losses than an October lambing, with 14.7 per cent and 9.2 per cent

respectively for single lambs and 40.2 per cent and 19.2 per cent for twins.29

Is there an acceptable level of lamb losses?

3.29 In no species is perinatal loss unknown. Determining an

acceptable level of such loss for sheep is a difficult issue,

however, as so many factors are implicated. Guidelines issued by the New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries suggest that if more than 20 per cent of maiden ewes or 15 per cent of mature

ewes have lost their lambs by marking, then a lamb loss problem

exists.30

3.30 Under extensive conditions, Professor Kennedy spoke of achieving lamb mortality rates as low as 12 per cent, and doubted whether in semi-arid zones, any improvement on that figure could be achieved as certain factors affecting lamb mortality were out of management's control.31

32

Reduction of lamb losses

3.31 The Committee accepts that most sheep producers are

concerned about their lambing rates. However, if New South Wales averages 81 per cent of lambs marked, it is already outside the

State departmental guidelines indicated above. The Committee recommends that the industry, together with the State departments of agriculture, develop lamb loss parameters for the common

breeds in each district as a minimum target at which producers

should aim.

3.32 The Committee further recommends that research continue into the comparative efficacy of the various forms of shelter on a regional basis and that the results be promptly disseminated through all appropriate media outlets.

3.33 The survival rate of twin lambs or multiple births is

considerably inferior to that of single births.32 The Committee received anecdotal evidence to the effect that the costs of using ultrasound imaging on pregnant ewes could be easily outweighed by the benefits of being able to distinguish sufficiently early the ewes bearing more than one lamb, and then to draft them off for

special nutrition and attention. The Committee recommends that more research into the cost-benefits of using ultrasound imaging on ewes in early pregnancy be conducted.

3 . 34 Considering the level of lamb losses, the Committee was

concerned to learn of the development and marketing of

fecundity-enhancing products. It fears that these products could be used indescriminately to mask the real level of lamb deaths by increasing overall births, thus obscuring the number of unviable births.

3.35 In defence of the vaccine Fecundin, developed by the

CSIRO Division of Animal Production, Dr Scott, then Chief of the Division, pointed out that users of Fecundin were advised of the

33

additional nutritional and other management requirements of ewes being treated with the vaccine, and further, that the vaccine was primarily intended for use in Border Leicester-Merino crosses which have a superior mothering ability.33

3.36 The Committee recommends that research be continued into the mothering ability of Merino ewes in particular, so that

multiple birth lambs, whether the result of fecundity treatment or not, may enjoy a better chance

further recommends that funding

of survival. The Committee for the development and

improvement requirement survival.

Lamb marking

of existing fecundity vaccines be tied to a

also to investigate methods of enhancing lamb

3.37 The term "lamb marking" comprises the earmarking of

lambs for identification of ownership, the removal of part of the tail (also termed "docking">, and the castration of ram lambs . Mulesing is frequently performed at the same time, but for the

purposes of this report it will be chiefly discussed in Chapter 4, as a means of flystrike control. An associated procedure is

vaccination against a number of diseases, including tetanus, pulpy kidney, blackleg, malignant oedema, scabby mouth and cheesy gland.

3.38 The marking operations are generally carried out at the

end of the lambing period, when the lambs are from one to eight

weeks of age. The lambs are held by hand or more commonly in

cradles for the procedures, which may take place in temporary yards erected for the purpose in the lambing paddock, or in other permanent yards.

34

Earmarking

3.39 stud with

All sheep older than six months, other than registered sheep, are required to have an the Pastures Protection Board earmark which is registered

in New South Wales. Other

States similarly require unique earmarks as proof of owner ship. Earmarks further indicate the sex of the animal, with ewes being marked in the right ear and rams in the left.

3.40 Traditionally, the earmarks have been produced by metal clippers. Sometimes coloured ear tags as indicators of age are attached at the same time. The procedure, while not painless,

causes a brief reaction from the lamb but not an acute

behavioural response to the pain, according to Dr Alexander.34

3.4 1 Alternatives include tattooing of numbers, letters or

symbols on the ear, using needles and tattooing ink . This

practice is sometimes demanded of stud sheep by the brn·

societies. It takes longer than clipping an earmark and is difficult to read, as wax and dirt can build up in the ta t

but in welfare terms, is not considered to differ significa; from ear clipping.35

3.42 The electronic identification of sheep is now possible

via the implanting of a small device in the sheep's ear. Scanners enable individual sheep to be identified, as well as providing ownership information. The positioning of the electronic implants requires a very minor surgical procedure.36 The major

disadvantages of electronic eartags are their expense, and the fac t that they can be easily removed. The implant procedure is

unlikely to cause the lamb any more problems than a clip or a

tattoo, and has distinct welfare benefits. It can reduce

handling, electronic drafting becomes a possibility, and

individuals can be recognised.

35

3 . 43 Some form of sheep identification is desirable to

discourage stock theft and to facilitate breeding and treatment p r ogrammes. For the benefits which may accrue from the latter , the Committee believes the temporary inconvenience of all present forms of earmarking is worthwhile.

Tail docking

3 . 44 Lamb tails, if left intact, promote the collection o f

faeces , and in the case of the female , urine . Apart from t he

discomfort this causes the animal, it also increases t he

likelihood of skin eczema, infections in the genital area and

breech strike.37

3 .45 In the interests of hygiene, therefore, most lambs'

tai ls are shortened at marking time. Exceptions are lambs

destined for export to the Middle East. The recommended length is j ust to cover the tip of the vulva in the ewe lamb, and an

equivalent length in the ram lamb . A shorter length is not

recommended, as it can result in sunburn or cancer of the

vulva.38

3 . 46 Some breeds, such as Dorsets, have their tails docked

very short as a requirement of breeding associations. ANZFAS condemned thi s practice, describing it as "a mutilation done

merely to please the aesthetic senses of humans".39 Mr Binns , President of the Association of Stud Sheep Breeders of Australia and himself a Dorset breeder, agreed that the practice was

undesirable . 40 The Committee recommends that no sheep have its tail completely removed.

3.47 There are three commonly used methods of tail docking

rubber rings, a knife or searing with a hot

heated> knife. Each causes pain, as measured by cortisol levels and observed from behavioural indices, and results in a temporary s etback in growth rate.41 Each has its own particular drawback.

36

3.48 Elastrator rings result in a wound which is slower to

heal, with one study showing a mean healing time of 36 days,

compared with 21.5 for the knife.42 Some lambs remain unhealed 43 days after the procedure.43 Because of the slower healing

process, the wound is more likely to attract flies for a longer

period.44 The initial response of lambs to rubber rings was

described by Shutt et al. as "characterised by very agitated

behaviour indicative of considerable distress for a period of up t o one hour•.45

3 . 49 The hot knife, by cauterising the blood vessels of the

tail, reduces the shock caused by blood loss and lambs appear to suffer less pain.46 The moist wound, however, is slower to heal than a knife wound and is susceptible to fly strike unless an

insecticide is used. When marking is combined with mulesing, the hot knife has an advantage for both lamb and operator in reducing the blood flow.

3.50 Tail docking with a knife causes bleeding which can be

severe in older lambs.47 The comparison of tail docking methods by Shutt and colleagues showed that lambs tail docked with a

knife were initially somewhat subdued but their behaviour

returned to normal after they were re-united with their mothers. Plasma cortisol levels were raised significantly higher than in those lambs docked with the rings after 15 minutes and remained so after 24 hours.48

3 . 51 On the day following the operation, Shutt and colleagues

observed that all lambs, regardless of the method of tail docking which had been performed on them, were behaving normally and

showed no awkwardness of gait or stance. Previous research by Wohlt and colleagues found no sustained effects in terms of

bodyweight gain between lambs docked by rings or the knife.49

37

3.52 The Committee concluded that on the basis of the '

evidence presented to it, tail docking is a helpful management proc edure and that there may be a case for concluding that

docking with a knife causes less distre ss than with rubber rings . Howe v e r, all of the abo v e me thods o f docking are acceptable ,

provided the equipment is sterile, the operators skilled, and t he l ambs are n o t s e parated from their mo thers for t o o lengthy a

period.

Castration

3 .53 anima l . Castration is the removal of the testicles of the male It is performed on mos t ram lambs as part of the marking

process for a variety of reaso ns, some of them welfare-related. Rams run together are notorious for their fighting and

sodomising, and weaker o r smaller animals run the risk of being deprive d of feed, water or shelter, whereas castrated males

that there is buyer resistance to the supposed "taint" of ram

meat. Under the Federal Pastoral Industry Award, the cost o f

shearing doubles for rams,51 and there are other labour

disincentives for leaving the males entire, such as differential slaughter fees.52

3.54 The early castration of ram lambs stops the development

of secondary sexual characteristics, including horn growth . Fighting and injury from horns are therefore reduced in wethers .

3.55 The two common methods of castrating ram lambs are by

using a knife or rubber rings . A third method, crushing the

testicles with a Burdizzo emasculator, is l e ss reliable and is

now infrequently used.53 Special marking knives e nable the

38

operator to slit or remove the bottom portion of the scrotum then hook or clamp the testicles in turn and pull them out. Elastrator

rings, on the other hand, are slipped over the scrotum using

special pliers. The ring restricts the flow of blood to the

testicles and scrotum, causing the tissue below the ring to die and drop off in about three weeks.54

3.56 Castration is obviously a stressful procedure for the

lamb, particularly when combined with other marking procedures. ANZFAS even considered it should only be performed under

anaesthetic.55 A recent study by Mellor and Murray, comparing tail docking alone with tail docking plus castration

instances using rubber rings) showed that 30 minutes after the procedure, lambs which had undergone both tail docking and

castration had mean plasma cortisol levels of 42.7 ng/ml compared with 17.3 ng/ml for those which had only been tail docked. A

return to pre-treatment values took three and two hours,

respectively.

3 . 57 Shutt and colleagues from New South Wales Agriculture

and Fisheries compared the stress responses of three-to-six weeks old lambs to docking and castration by the knife or by rubber

rings. When both procedures were performed using rings, the lambs exhibited abnormal behaviour for an hour, including "bleating, looking around, stamping, shaking hind limbs and tail, and

running back and forth in an increasingly frantic fashion rolling about straining their heads towards their

hindquarters and emitting deep-pitched bleats". Their plasma cortisol levels were slightly raised, reaching 128 nmol/1 after 15 minutes but dropping back to 99 nmol/1 after 24 hours; and in

comparison with control lambs, no significant increases in plasma immunoreactive beta-endorphins were measured. The lambs on which both procedures were performed surgically huddled together and some lay down briefly, and after an hour their behaviour was

quite normal, although "movement was slightly restricted".

Significant increases occurred in both plasma immunoreactive

39

beta-endorphin and cortisol concentrations, which the researchers attributed to the tissue damage from the surgery and the loss of blood. Cortisol levels reached 171 nmol/1 after 15 minutes and remained at 165 nmol/1 after 24 hours; while beta-endorphin

levels reached 276 pg/ml after 15 minutes compared with 64 pg /ml for the control lambs.56 It was suggested that the release of

endorphins post-surgery may afford a degree of analgesia and reduce pain for a short time after the operation. This would be

consistent with the lack of immediate behavioural response from the surgically-treated lambs and was consistent with the

behaviour of the lambs viewed by Committee members after marking and mulesing at "Euroka".

3.58 A key finding of Shutt and colleagues was that on the

day after the operations, normal behaviour was observed in all lambs. The research also detected no long-term effect on

bodyweight, a finding consistent with previous work.57

3.59 The consensus of opinion seems to be pointing to

surgical marking, rather than the use of rings. The Committee is not convinced that the difference in stress levels between the two methods is of such magnitude that one method should be

preferred to the other. The Committee noted the comments by Dr Barton, President of the Australian Veterinary Association, that inexperienced operators should be encouraged to use rings, as they are easier to manage.58 Realistically, most marking will continue to be performed by owner/operators and the method of marking with which they feel most competent is also likely to be

the one which is best for their sheep.

3.60 The Committee concludes that, although obviously

unpleasant for the lamb, tail docking is a necessary procedure and one which should take place on lambs early so as to minimise the suffering and to facilitate swift healing. Castration, on the other hand, was viewed by the Committee as more a management tool than an operation primarily for the welfare of the sheep. On

40

balance, the Committee conceded that

aggressive and reproductive tendencies the of

removal of

male sheep

the was

desirable in many instances and, at present, that involves

castration.

3 . 61 The Committee was less convinced, however, that

castration needs to be performed as often as it is. Ram lambs

reared for the meat trade grow faster and leaner if left entire

and there is little difference in palatability between them and wethers until they reach at least 12 months of age.59 It was

suggested to the Committee that frequently, castrated lambs are then injected with the male hormone, testosterone, to ensure they grow more like rams.60 The irony of such a practice was noted by the Committee. It accepts that it is difficult to ensure that ram

lambs reach a marketable weight and that a market can be found

for them before they reach sexual maturity and become behaviour problems. However, it does not accept that the answer is always castration. Far more could and should be done to break down the prejudices and financial disincentives against ram lambs in the

saleyards.

3.62 A promising development which may lessen the stress

associated with castration is the vaccine being investigated by CSIRO Division of Animal Production. It is designed to make male

animals temporarily sterile by immunising them against one of their own hormones, and has the effect of moderating their

aggression while still allowing them to grow large and lean.61 Immunocastration received a cautious response from witnesses who appeared before the Committee, however. Dr Denholm, of the

Victorian Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, applauded the concept of a single injection replacing surgery, but pointed out that problems such as the potential to produce auto-immune diseases can be associated with immunocastration.62 Professor

Egan of Melbourne University considered that the vaccine as yet was not completely reliable and that work remained to be done on the injection sequence to ensure that the right animal got the

right dose at the right time.63

41

3.63 The Committee recommends continued research into

'

immunocastration. If the vaccine can be shown to be 100 per cent effective and without side-effects, it should be widely promoted on welfare grounds.

3.64 Cryptorchidism was suggested to the Committee as an

alternative to castration. This is induced by pushing the ram

lamb's testes back into the body cavity and applying a rubber

ring to cause the scrotum to atrophy. However, according to New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries, some testes grow

subcutaneously and remain fertile, so the practice is not

necessarily efficient.64

General marking welfare issues

3.65 The age at which lambs are marked was of concern to the

Committee. If mating is spread over a two-month period and lambs are all mustered and marked together, some will be marked at a

very tender age while others will be old enough to suffer

excessively from bleeding and their wounds will take longer to heal. Where for manpower reasons, mustering for marking can only take place once, the joining period should be restricted to six weeks so that the disparity in the ages of the lambs is not too

great. Alternatively, ram harnesses should be used at mating so that the ewes can be separated into groups according to when they are due to lamb and marking can take place more often in smaller groups when the lambs are of an appropriate age, preferably six weeks or younger.

3.66 periods The Committee does not accept that multiple marking are only feasible on small, intensively managed

properties, as Dr Osborne of the Australian Veterinary

Association suggested.6S In extensive environments, the producer is under the same obligations to care for his animals, hence

should reduce his joining period · or create smaller lambing

paddocks so that lambs can be marked at a suitable time for them.

42

3.67 It was suggested to the

be delayed beyond the age of 12

be attempted without the use

Committee that, should marking weeks, the procedure should not of an anaesthetic.66 ANZFAS,

however, argued that "putting precise ages does or does not require an anaesthetic

and based on custom and/or convenience

on when an operation seems very arbitrary" rather than welfare

grounds. It suggested, as a preferred principle, that operations "should always be performed at the earliest time physiologically possible". 67

3 .6 8 The Committee concludes that lamb marking should take

place at as young an age as possible. The Committee further

concludes that marking of older animals be avoided if at all

possible, and where it becomes necessary, it should be performed under anaesthetic by a veterinarian.

3.69 It seems unlikely that the pain induced in young lambs

by marking is sufficiently acute or prolonged to warrant the use of analgesic drugs for pain control. Consideration should perhaps be given to using analgesics in situations where the presumption of considerable post-operative pain exists, for example following

the marking of an older animal. Practical knowledge of

appropriate analgesic drugs for sheep, dose levels, routes of administration and frequency of administration in sheep is almost non-existent, however.68 While accepting that analgesics can have disadvantages, such as the propensity to mask early indicators of

post-operative complications, the Committee' believes the potential of analgesics to benefit sheep has not been explored. The Committee therefore concludes that research into the

post-operative use of analgesics in sheep would be desirable.

Lamb losses after marking

3.70 Lamb losses during or after marking appear not to be a

problem of similar proportions to losses between birth and

4 3

marking, but they do occur. Mr Boultbee of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia stressed that most stockmen pride themselves on getting their lamb marking done with few to no mortalities.69

3.71 Starvation from mismothering can occur, particularly in lambs less than a week old. Management techniques recommended to reduce the incidence of this include marking in temporary yards in the paddock so that the lambs do not have to travel far;

avoiding marking in bad weather; avoiding a prolonged marking period; and shepherding for a sufficient time afterwards to

ensure that lambs mother up before nightfall.

3.72 Poor marking can result in lamb losses from shock or

haemorrhage, while infection from dirty yards or unsterile

instruments may also cause losses. All ewes should be vaccinated with a multi-purpose vaccine before lambing to ensure 6 weeks' protection for their lambs against tetanus and other wound

infections. Marking should be timed so that marking wounds are healed before there is any danger of their becoming flystruck.

3.73 The New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries has stated that "losses after marking greater than 3 per cent are

unacceptable".70 The Committee considers that this is a minimum standard and that every effort should be made to ensure that no losses occur after marking.

44

CHAPTER 4

THE SHEEP BLOWFLY AND ITS CONTROL

Introduction

4.1 All external parasites, including flies, keds, lice and

itchmite, present major problems for sheep welfare. However, most witnesses who appeared before the Committee singled out blowfly strike as the most important problem confronting the wool and sheepmeat industries in Australia today, in both economic and

welfare terms.1 For the sheep, blowfly strike means the extreme discomfort of maggots eating away at its skin and flesh; a rising temperature, pulse and respiratory rate; a disinclination t o feed; and if death does not occur, the stresses of handling,

crutching and jetting associated with treatment.2 For the sheep producer, blowfly strike has been calculated to cost $1.05

approximately S2 300 per farm.3 In a high-risk year, this can

rise to $3 500. The cost to Australia in a normal year was

estimated at one million dollars in 1980. These costs are derived from reduced wool growth or wool loss from the struck region,

reduced bodyweight, impaired fertility, deaths and treatment.4

4.2 Funding for research into methods of control from the

Australian Wool Corporation alone amounted to $1 424 970 in the present financial year, reflecting the seriousness with which the Corporation views blowfly strike.5 Nineteen research projects are supported, including work into the development of vaccines,

improved insecticide application, alternatives to mulesing and genetic control of blowfly populations.6 The Australian Meat and Livestock Research and Development Corporation similarly supports research into the prevention of blowfly strike and control of the

sheep blowfly.

45

4.3 In this chapter, the Committee will consider the flies

responsible for primary and other strikes, and their

epidemiology, along with the factors which predispose sheep to flystrike and how flystrike affects sheep. It will then consider prevention and control measures, including chemicals, biological control and management strategies such as mulesing.

Sheep blowflies

4.4 Nineteen species of fly are known to be involved in

flystrike in Australia.? One, Lucilia cuprina, initiates up to 90 per cent of all strikes, while L. sericata and the native flies

Calliphora stygia, C . augur and C. nociva may also act as

primary strike flies. Other flies can invade and extend the wound area created by the primary strike fly. Given the predominance of L. cuprina in initiating strikes, the Committee will

particularly consider this fly and its control.

4.5 It is thought that L. cuprina was introduced into

Australia in the late nineteenth century, probably from South Africa or India, and probably on struck sheep.8 Cutaneous

myiasis, or the invasion of sheep skin by fly larvae , was recognised as a problem in 1901-02.9 Blowfly strike occurs most commonly in the breech area of the sheep, although other

parts of the animal may also be affected <"body strike"). Strikes around the poll, the pizzle, or in wounds also occur.

The life cycle of L. cuprina

4.6 L. Cuprina, a small, metallic green fly, breeds almost

entirely on the living sheep. The female fly is attracted to a

moist liquid protein environment, such as that provided by

faeces, urine-saturated breeches, fleece rot, dermatophilosis or wounds, and there she lays her eggs, depositing them in batches of 50-250. During her two-to-three week life, she can lay up to

three batches of eggs, if conditions are suitable.

46

4.7 The eggs hatch in as little as eight hours in hot humid

weather , b ut take up to three days when the t e mperature drops to

15°C. When protein, warmth and humidity are present, the larvae pass through three stages of development, called

instars, becoming fully devel oped in four to six days. At the

second and third instar stages , they can break the sheep's skin to feed on exudate.

4.8 The mature third instar drops to the ground, usually at

night , to pupate at an average depth of 1.5 e m in the soil.

Pupation may take only one t o three days in summer, but when soil temperatures drop below about 10°C, development is halted and the fly overwinters in the prepupal stage.

4.9 Development recommences when the soil temperature rises, although high pupal mortality is recorded in midsummer when soil t emperature becomes too high. Summer rains increase the survival

rate of larvae and pupae, and also predispose sheep to fleecerot and dermatophilosis, making them attractive to flies. Females can mate and produce eggs within a week of emerging from the soil.

4.10 Flies have been recorded as travelling 7 . 5 km within 47

hours,lO though the majority are thought to remain within two . kilometres of where they emerge from the soil. Susceptibility of sheep to blowfly strike

4.1 1 Sheep become attractive to flies for a variety of

reasons, all related to the presence of moisture. This may be in the form of rain, urine, wound exudate, diarrhoea or skin

inflammation. If the moistened part is conducive to the retention of moisture , the likelihood of

strike is increased, provided that the temperature is also

suitable.ll

47

4.12 Merino sheep are the breed most susceptible to

flystrike, while plain open-fleeced British breeds are least affected. The dense, compact Merino fleece deflects light rain but persistent heavy rain reaches the skin and the fleece takes a long time to dry out.12

Breech strike

4.13 Breech strike involves the perineum, the tail and

surrounding areas, and is the most common form of blowfly strike, particularly in ewes.13 The breech region of ewes is regularly made wet with urine. Ewes with a wrinkly rear end conformation, or ewes which have not been mulesed or crutched, are particularly

susceptible to breech soiling, especially if they are carrying more than six months' wool. A soiled breech in turn attracts

primary strike flies.

4.14 Worm infestations have been shown to cause diarrhoea,

which is in turn associated with breech strike. Research by

Morley and colleagues has shown that if worm infestations are controlled, the incidence of breech strike in weaner sheep can be reduced by 90 per cent.14

4 .15 Diarrhoea may also be induced by grazing sheep on lush

pastures, by changing feed, by bacterial infection and by other causes. Any management practices which reduce the incidence of diarrhoea also lessen the predisposition of the sheep to breech strike.

Body strike

4.16 Body strike refers to blowfly strike on all parts of the

sheep except the breech, pizzle and head. Bacterial infections of the skin, such as fleece rot and dermatophilosis, associated with prolonged wetting from persistent summer rain, high humidity, or long wet grass, are the major predisposing conditions for body strike.

48

Other strikes

4 . 1 7 Poll strike, or strike around the horns, is generally

conf ined to rams. It results from moisture trapped beneath the horns and the accumulation of skin s e cre tions in t he area . 15 I n

we t hers and rams, p i zzle strike o c curs when the long hair around

the preputial o pening becomes soile d with u r ine. Sheath rot i s

also a pre disposing condition. Any infec ted wound on a sheep is susceptible t o flystrike, and these may i nclude shearing cuts , footro t s i tes, s cabby mouth or conj unctiv i tis .

Eff ects of blowfly strike on the sheep

4.1 8 Blowfly strike is a disease process which is accompanied by i n flammation and often by systemic changes. Crutch strik e , while the most common strike, is not necessarily the most severe, as body strike i s not so readily detected and tends to be f u r t her

advanced when it i s noticed . 16

4. 19 Little evidence of disturbance is noted during the first

t wo days after the female fly has laid her eggs, except f or

tail-twitching, feet-stamping and attempts to bite the affected part by the sheep. However, once the second and third instars

burrow into the flesh and extend the wound, the infected sheep r educes its feed intake, its rectal temperature rises to about 41°C, its pulse and respiratory rates and it loses

we ight rapidly.17 Broadmeadow and colleagues considered that

t hese changes were consistent with severe toxaemia, due either to toxins produced by the larvae or by bacteria proliferating on the wound site.18

4.20 Many sheep die from the effects of strike . In high-risk

years, an extension officer survey showed this to be, on average, 3.2 per cent of the flock,19 while during a flywave in the

Charleville and Quilpie districts in early 1974, mortalities in excess of 35 per cent in ewes and 45 per cent in wethers were

recorded.

49

4.21 The rapid decline in food intake was demonstrated by

Heath and colleagues, who subjected sheep to a single,

artificially-induced flystrike. The sheep lost up to 5.5 kg over four to six days and took up to 36 days to regain their original

bodyweight.20

4.22 Wool production has also been shown to be reduced by

blowfly strike by up to 26 per cent, and this is thought to be

stress-related.21

4.23 The common method of treating flystruck sheep is by

cutting the wool away from the affected area and applying a

larvicidal dressing,22 a procedure which, when combined with the stresses of being rounded up and caught, makes for a most

unpleasant and painful episode for the sheep and one which may need to be frequently repeated.

4.24 Sheep may recover without treatment, with the maggots

dropping off and a scab forming over the wound. Some of the

fleece may be shed from around the wound. The incidence of

"covert" strikes, that is, those which go undetected by the sheep producer, have been shown to be up to 14 times more frequent than the "overt" or conspicuous strikes.23 In one study, 72 per cent of properties were found to have covert strikes, some of which

remained active for more than two months. The Committee concluded that, in all probability, flystrike than are ever

recover, their welfare

jeopardised.

a great many more sheep suffer from

treated for it, and while they may

in the process has been seriously

Prevention and control of flystrike

4.25 Broadly speaking, the flystrike problem can be addressed in two ways: by reducing the fly population; or by rendering the sheep less susceptible to its attacks. Frequently both methods

50

are used in combination, as on present evidence, it seems

unlikely that either, alone, will be the ultimate solution.

4.26 Fly densities may be reduced by trapping, by biological

control methods, or by genetic control, either using the sterile male technique or by introducing lethal genes. Sheep

susceptibility to flystrike may be reduced by selective breeding programmes, by mulesing, by crutching, by pizzle dropping, by the use of chemicals or by vaccination, or by combinations of these methods.

Fly trapping

4 . 27 Trapping or baiting of flies has frequently been tried

as a method of reducing the fly population. University of New

South Wales researchers at the Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station have used a variety of traps to identify where flies

congregate, and to bait selectively in those places.24 Combined with mulesing and chemical control, the approach has resulted in low blowfly strike rates compared with neighbouring properties. Professor Kennedy assessed the results so far as "promising•.25

4.28 Trapping has been used as part of an early warning

system for the timing of insecticide application in Western

Australia. By using traps, officers of the Department of

Agriculture have been able to ascertain when sufficient flies are

present to sustain a strike. This information, combined with data on wind speed, temperature, and sheep susceptibility, provide the basi s for a predictability model for "flystrike alerts•.26

4 .29 · Trapping per se would seem to be of limited effect in

reducing the fly population, but it may have a place in combined strategies as outlined above.

51

Biological control

4 . 30 A natural ene my for L . c uprin a has not yet been found .

Some initial work by Cooper and colleagues has shown that the

microsporidian pathogen, Octosporea mu s c ae d om es ticae, may have a role in suppressing field populations of L . c uprina . Bacteri al

pathogens, principally Ba cillus thuring i e n s is, have been used as larvicides as a preventative measure, with some success.27

Genetic control

4 . 31 Genetic control involves the transfer of deleterious

genetic material from released flies to wild flies by mating. The material in question can be either inherited, in the case of

genetically altered strains, or induced each generation by

chemical or radiation treatment.28

4.32 Research into the use of genetic control methods has

been underway in Australia since the late 1960s. It was clearly inspired by the success of the sterile male technique in

eradicating the screw-worm fly from the southern States of the USA.29

4.33 The classic sterile insect release method

involves the release of irradiated flies whose progeny all carry dominant lethal mutations. This does not produce a persisting genetic load to reduce the fly population, however, and repeated releases are required to achieve low fly densities. The vastness of the sheep-raising areas of Australia and the costs of

breeding, rearing, irradiating and releasing the flies have made this method of genetic control biologically feasible but

economically and logistically unsuitable.30

4.34 The CSIRO Division of Entomology is currently producing "blowflies which carry chromosomal defects such as compound

chromosomes and sex-linked eye colour mutations, which cause blindness and sterility in subsequent generations. Field trials

52

have sho wn the sex-linked translo cation strains are competitive

with wild blowflies and can lead to 90 per cent genetic deaths by r educing the fitness of the wild L. c uprin a population . 31

4.35 Trials to inve stigate the feasibility of this tec hnique

over a b r oad area have been conducted in the Shoalhaven dist rict of New South Wales, o n Flinders Isla nd and currently o n all the

Fu rneaux gro up of i s lands in Bass Strait . In the Furne aux

experime nt, researc h e rs will e nde a v our to suppress the native fly populat i o n o n the islands by r e lea sing sex-linked t r anslocation males, and when the populat i o n reaches a manageable level, fully steril e males will be introduce d in an

fly population.32 The cost-be nefits attempt to eradicate the of this form of blowfly

contr o l will also be examine d in d e tail in this latest study.

4 .36 The limitations o f geneti c control methods were outlined

by Dr Mahon, Senior Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Entomology:

while eradication is considered a viable

option in the Furneaux group, and perhaps even in Tasmania, the absence of comparable

barriers to immigration on the mainland

probably makes eradication not feasible.33

He further indicated that the more appropriate approach on the

mainland would be the suppression of the indigeneous blowfly population by the continual release of sex-linked males. In

low-density sheep areas, he considered the costs of release of the flies

potential returns to the industry. However, in the more intensive

sheep-raising areas, he considered the number

hectare warranted the use of genetic control

believed they could be cost-effective there.34

53

of sheep per

methods and he

4.37 Many witnesses were most supportive of fly-centred

research. Mr Peden, representing AFWA, considered it should have top priority because of the extent of the flystrike problem and the suffering and loss it causes.35

4.38 The Committee supports the continuation of research into methods of genetic control of the sheep blowfly and the

While the method has logistic cost-benefit parameters involved. and economic problems, it has been has the added welfare attraction of involving the sheep.

shown to be effective and it

being fly-centred rather than

Selective breeding programmes

4.39 Selective breeding has been advanced as a method of

making sheep less susceptible to flystrike. This is not a new

development, for as early as 1937, Belschner concluded:

Body strike in sheep depends almost entirely upon the pre-existence of fleece rot, and it

is obvious that there exists a type of sheep

definitely predisposed to the latter condition the prevention of body strike depends

principally on reducing the susceptibility of our flocks by selective breeding.36

4.40 Fleece characteristics and also body conformation are

important in determining a sheep's susceptibility to flystrike. Fleeces which are dense, compact, soft-handling, thick-stapled, and white and bright in colour are associated with resistant

sheep. Similarly, plain-bodied sheep, without devil's grip

or wrinkly breeches, are more resistant to flystrike.37

4.41 The ease with which these desirable characteristics can be bred into a flock depends on their heritability, which has

been calculated on the basis of experimental evidence to be 0.40 for fleece rot.38 New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries has

54

run an experimental flock at Trangie in which the fleece rot

incidence in hoggets has been reduced from 60 per cent to 17 per

c e nt in 20 years, under the same e nvironmental conditions .3 9

4.42 Selection f o r fleece rot resistance is made more

difficult in dry environments, where the problem of fleece rot does not regularly occur. However, as Mr Butt , Principal

Livestock Officer of the Department, pointed o ut, an active

selection programme is feasible in other areas.40

4.43 In Western Australia dermatophilosi s

dermatitis, or lumpy wool) is as significantly correlated with flystrike as is fleece rot, and officers of the Western

Australian Department of Agriculture were sceptical as to the likely success of direct selection. Dr Monzu pointed out that a flock with 80 per cent incidence of dermatitis will not get an 80 per cent incidence of flystrike, and it is not feasible to cull

such a number of sheep.4l

4 .44 Plain-bodied sheep, such as the British breeds, are far

more resistant to . flystrike than the Merino in general, and

wrinkly Merinos in particular. However, as Dr Meischke and others pointed out to the Committee, breeding wrinkles off sheep

reduces, but does not eliminate, the flystrike problem.42 In

addition, breeding for plainness of body or breech presents an economic problem, in that it also tends to select against a

heavy-cutting fleece and other desirable traits. Dr Meischke further implied that the practice of mulesing removed the

evidence of a faultily-conformed breech, rendering the selection process more difficult.43

4.45 The Committee concludes that selection for resistance to flystrike is an important tool in the effort to reduce the

welfare horror that flystrike represents for our sheep flocks. Such selective breeding has the added advantage that it in itself is not inimical to the welfare of individual sheep. The Committee

55

recommends continued research into flystrike resistance

characteristics, as one of a range of methods designed to reduce the suffering caused by flystrike.

Mulesinq

4.46 Of all the issues which were raised by critics of the

sheep and wool industry, the practice of mulesing was the one

which attracted the most vigorous condemnation. Dr Auty referred to it as "the partial flaying" of the sheep and indicated that in his view, mulesing did not lie within the parameters of

acceptable interference with animals.44 ANZFAS considered the mules operation "a crude and barbaric substitute for good

husbandry" and quoted a Mr Douglass of the RSPCA

described mulesing as a "particularly abhorrent and quite

unnecessary and unacceptable mutilation of an animal•.45

4.47 The industry, academics and the departments of

agriculture, on the other hand, were unanimous in their support for the practice, perceiving that the benefits which accrued from it far outweighed the disadvantages.46 Clearly, though, they agreed should

•

that mulesing was a painful procedure, and one which

and would be replaced as soon as acceptable and effective alternatives were found.47

4.48 Mulesing is an operation which consists of the surgical

removal of strips of loose, wool-bearing skin from the breech and tail of the sheep. Its purpose is to remove the skin folds which

accumulate moisture and fragments of excreta and which in turn attract the sheep blowfly. When the cuts heal, the naturally bare area around the vulva and anus is stretched and enlarged,

reducing the dampness of the surrounding wool. An advocate

described the mules operation as "simple skin surgery, causing little blood loss or surgical shock·.48

56

4.49 The operation was first advocated by Mr J.H.W. Mules of

South Australia, who outlined his answer to breech strike in a l e tter to the Adelaid e Adverti s er in 1931. Its subsequent history

has been extensively reviewed elsewhere.49 Radical and modified f o rms of the operation evolved, with most present-day advocates

r ecommending a crescent-shaped cut on each side of the vulva and

the removal of all but a "V" of wool-bearing skin extending one

thi rd of the way down the docked tail.50

4. 50 The mulesing operation is most commonly performed at

lamb marking. Reasons given for this timing are that the lamb

only has to endure the stress of being mustered once; that wounds

heal more quickly on a young animal; and that the lamb will be

able to go immediately to its mother for comfort and a drink. New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries recommends the mulesing of appropriate sheep at marking time, when lambs are from one to

s e ven weeks of age, in most situations.51 This recommendation is

echoed by most extension services.52 The Prevention of

Cruelty to Animals Act

before the sheep is 12

1979 requires mulesing to be undertaken months of age. When mulesing is delayed

until weaning or later, the animal suffers more of a setback in

growth. However, mulesing is clearly not indicated in the middle of a flywave or when lambs are already weakened by poor nutrition during drought.53

4.51 Mulesing is performed either by farm labour or by

mulesing contractors. New South Wales estimates were that 60 per cent was done by contractors and that this percentage was

dropping.54 Highly sharpened, modified shears are used and are disinfected between uses. The operation is performed on

restiained, unanaesthetised animals.

4.52 The precise numbers of animals mulesed are unknown.

Recent New South Wales surveys indicate that 80 per cent of

Merinos and 45 per cent of other breeds and crosses born in that State are mulesed.55 In the western district of Victoria, 56 per cent of wool-producing sheep were mulesed, according to a survey

57

by Morley, compared with only 11 per cent of meat sheep, while in Western Australia, 75 per cent of respondents to a 1983 survey

mulesed, and the larger the flock, the more likely it was to be

mulesed.S6

4.53 Mr Bowman, representing the Wool Council, suggested that mulesing rates were in part dependent on location. In the high

rainfall areas where more meat-producing sheep were raised, he considered there was no need to mules prime lambs.57 Mr Coombes, Executive Director of the Sheepmeat Council, suggested that there was a correlation between the presence of good contractors in an area and the percentage of mulesed sheep.S8

4.54 Even the opponents of mulesing did not query the fact

that it was effective in significantly reducing the incidence of breech strike. Two studies provided as examples by Kevin Bell showed strike rates of 0.4 per cent in mulesed sheep compared

with 27 per cent in unmulesed; and none with 60 per cent.59

4.55 Clearly, mulesing is a practice which has gained

widespread acceptance among sheep producers, and particularly amongst those who raise sheep primarily for wool. It is a

practice widely promoted by the departments of agriculture, and one which can be seen to achieve its aim of reducing the

incidence of breech strike. Two issues remain to be addressed, however: firstly, whether the practice is so painful for the

sheep that it should be banned on welfare

grounds; and secondly, whether the pain and suffering caused by mulesing is justifiable compared with the pain and suffering

which may eventuate from breech strike.

4.56 As the Committee has discovered in its previous

inquiries, it is all but impossible to quantify the degree of

pain experienced by a given animal. As Dr Meischke reminded the Committee, pain is a subjective experience.60 It seems likely also that there is a spectrum of pain susceptibility in sheep,

58

and what is painful for one may not necessarily be painful, or as painful, to the next.61 The best objective indicators of pain

that exist at present appear to be hormonal responses, such as

cortisol and beta endorphin levels, which when elevated and when combined with behavioural indicators, probably suggest t he

presence of pain, and certainly point to the relative effects of different stressors.

4.57 On this premise, recent research by Shutt, Fell and

coll eagues from the New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries indicates that mulesing is indeed an unpleasant experience for the lamb, albeit a short-lived one. Lambs aged four weeks had

significantly raised plasma free cortisol levels 15 minutes after either tail docking and or tail docking, castration and

mulesing, compared with the control lambs <46, 61 and 13 nmol/1 respectively>. Severe flystrike was associated with similar plasma cortisol values to the maximum recorded from the surgical procedures.62

4.58 In a later study by the same team, the responses to

mulesing of six-to-seven months old weaners was assessed. Five to fifteen minutes after the operation, plasma cortisol and beta endorphin levels were markedly raised

209 pg/ml>, reaching their highest levels <233 nmol/1 and 266

pg/ml respectively> 24 hours after surgery. For up to two hours after surgery, an analgesic effect associated with the release of beta endorphin was observed, but thereafter the sheep evidenced abnormal posture and locomotion and grazed less than usual. After

three days their behaviour was back to normal and wound healing was evident, but was not regarded as complete for another 19

days. No significant effect on growth rate was recorded.63

59

4.59 An interesting behavioural aspect of this study was the

marked aversion the mulesed sheep showed to the presence of the person who handled them during the operation, an aversion which persisted for five weeks. The researchers caution that this may

have been a reaction to their having being handled in their

post-operative state, or it may have been a residual effect of

the operation itself. The researchers concluded that mulesing of weaners by contractors rather than owners, and minimal

post-operative handling, were indicated as a means of reducing stress.

4.60 Some evidence was presented to the Committee on whether

mulesing should be carried out by contractors or by

owner-operators or other farm labour, and how best these persons should gain the necessary skills for the task. If it is to be

done at all, there is no question that it needs to be done

quickly and well. New South Wales departmental officers suggested that owner operators tended to do the job themselves at marking time, but that training was offered by departmental regional

officers. On the other hand, the larger flocks were more likely to be mulesed by contractors, who again could have the benefit of departmental training and the experience gained by repeating the operation many thousands of times.64 Dr Osborne, representing the Australian Veterinary Association, considered "it would be

impractical and perhaps even not especially desirable to have rigid rules and certifications" covering owner-operators and their performance of surgical procedures. However, in the case of contractors who mulesed for fees, he considered some form of

certification was desirable.65 The Committee agrees. It considers that the training offered by departmental regional officers is quite adequate to provide a person with the requisite skills to · mules sheep, and suggests that any person wishing to mules for

financial gain should be able to prove, by way of a certificate

from the training officer, that he has been trained and has

60

r eached an appropriate level of competence in the procedure. The

Committe e considers that this would not become a burden for

departme ntal officers. Indeed one department indicated it

percei ved an organisatio nal and co-ordinating role for the

departme nts in this regard.66

4.6 1 Another suggestio n put to the Committee was that, to

alleviate pain, sheep sho uld be anaesthetised for the mules

operation.67 Most witne sses who commented on the use o f

anaesthe tic s disagreed with their use on lambs at mulesing. It

was f e lt that the whole mules ing operation would be slowed down, lambs would be away from their mothers longer and could become disorie nted, thus increasing the risk of mismothering.68 An AFWA representative, Mr Plant, pointed out that experimental work with

a naesthe tics had been done at the Orange Agricultural College, with fairly undesirable results.69 It was also suggested that the post-op e rative period was the most painful, at which time the

effect o f the anaesthetic would have worn off. The Committee

considers that the use of anaesthetics at lamb marking is

inadvisable and impracticable.

4 . 62 From the work by Shutt and Fell and other studies, from

evid e nce it received, and from its own observations of mulesing a t the property of Mr Robert Campbell at Tarago, the Committee

c oncluded generally sheep and

a lleviated

that mulesing is an unpleasant practice, one which is performed with distaste and one which certainly causes lambs pain, although pain which is temporarily

by the analgesic effect of the release of beta

endorphins . This pain and discomfort is, however, of short

dur ation, and the operation appears to have no long-term adverse conse quences.

4 . 63 The Committee then considered whether the infliction of

s u c h pain in the short term could be justified, in view of the

perceived long-term benefits mulesing provides by way of reduced s usceptibility to breech strike.

61

4.64 It reviewed the arguments of Dr Meischke and others, who

pointed out that sheep are individuals, many of whom are

naturally quite resistant to flystrike and for whom mulesing is an unnecessary and painful indignity.70

4.65 density

The Committee noted that in areas of higher sheep

and smaller flocks, there was evidence that some

producers were able and willing to put in the extra time and

effort to breed out faults in sheep, to select resistant sheep, to control worms, to inspect and crutch and jet with chemicals

more frequently to ensure a healthy flock without recourse to

mulesing. It also noted, however, that some were not. In cases

where sheep are going to be managed with less than optimum care and attention, the Committee would prefer to see the sheep

mulesed than unmulesed. The Committee considers that the "all or none" approach to mulesing is probably inevitable in extensive environments, and on balance considers that "all" is the

preferred option.

4.66 In the absence of effective alternatives to mulesing,

the Committee decided that the practice should continue. The Committee recommends continued research into all means of

preventing blowfly strike, so that the need for mulesing is

removed. In the interim, it considers that mulesing should be

performed where possible on lambs at marking rather than later.

Crutching

4.67 Crutching, or the removal of

wool from around the breech area of sheep, is standard practice throughout the sheep industry. Short wool on the breech soils

less and dries more quickly, hence reduces the sheep's

susceptibility to breech strike. Crutching serves other purposes than blowfly strike control, and is routinely performed prior to mating and sale of sheep, and sometimes pre-lambing. Extension services recommend at least one thorough crutching between annual shearings, even for mulesed sheep.71

62

4. 68 Crutching alone does not prevent the wetting or soiling

of the breech.72 If it i s carrie d out just before likely flywave

periods, it can reduce, but n o t e liminate the incidence of breech strike .

Pizzle dropping

4.69 Pizzle dropping is a simple technique which involves the

severing of the tissues between the sheep's belly and sheath

enclosing the penis so that following healing, the prepuce hangs some 50 mm below the wool. The tissue is severed some 60 mm with

hand shears, mulesing shears or s urgical scissors. The procedure can be carried out at lamb marking but is best carried out at six

t o 14 months of age, according t o New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries.73

4.70 The procedure of pizzle dropping has been advocated to

r educe urine staining and flystrike in belly wool. Urine staining

i s an economic, rather than a welfare issue, as stained wool is

considerably less valuable than unstained. Fizzle strike,

however, is facilitated by urine staining, and is clearly a

welfare issue, although some have claimed its prevalence is not sufficiently high to justify treatment.74 Wardhaugh and

colleagues found otherwise in their 1978-80 study, considering it the main form of covert strike.75

4.71 Staining can be reduced by ringing (the removal of wool

from around the prepuce using a shearing handpiece). New South Wales field trials have shown that when ringing and pizzle

dropping were both performed, urine staining was reduced by 67 per cent and belly flystrike by better than 90 per cent. Fizzle

dropping alone resulted in a 26 per cent reduction in staining

and 88 per cent reduction in belly strike. In conjunction with

testosterone treatment, pizzle dropping had the added advantage of reducing the incidence of sheath rot.76

63

4.72 The use of insecticides to treat the area is a viable

alternative to pizzle dropping in reducing the incidence of

flystrike, though it has no effect on the proportion of stained wool.

4.73 Fizzle dropping has not gained wide acceptance in

Australia, despite its advocacy by the New South Wales

Agriculture and Fisheries. The reason most probably lies in the fact that shearers are said to dislike shearing pizzle-dropped animals.77

4.74 Welfare and production benefits both seem to accrue from pizzle dropping. Little evidence was available on the stress

levels induced by the procedure, however. The Committee is not opposed per se to pizzle dropping as a method of reducing the

incidence of flystrike, but as with all surgical interventions in sheep, it would prefer to see viable, safe and effective

alternatives in use.

Chemical control

4.75 Insecticides have been available for protecting sheep

against flystrike since the sheep blowfly problem arose. They are applied to the sheep by dipping or jetting. Three groups of

insecticides offer control against blowfly strike: the

organophosphates; the triazines, of which Vetrazin is the only commercially available product; and synthetic pyrethroid-based products which are oviposition suppressants.78

4.76 One of the problems with the use of insecticides is the

speed with which L. cuprina develops resistance to them. The

organophosphate insecticides were first introduced in 1957, but by 1965 resistance was reported,79 and they now offer at best one to three weeks protection. Vetrazin and the oviposition

suppressants still offer from six to twelve weeks protection, but as Dr Mahon pointed out:

64

4.77

There is little doubt that increased use of

chemicals would hasten the evolution of

resistance to that chemical and reduce its

useful life.80

The problem of resistance is acknowledged by the

agricultural and veterinary chemicals industry, which supports an Insecticide Resistance Action Committee to monitor the onset of resistance and to minimise its impact.81 It was suggested there was a very real danger of the present chemicals becoming

ineffective developed.

through overuse before alternatives could be

4.78 Another problem with insecticides is the method of

application. Formerly dipping was the preferred method, but now jetting, either by hand or through a jetting race, is more

common. The efficacy of an insecticide is largely dependent on

the thoroughness with which it is applied.82 Hand jetting can be less reliable in this regard, unless slowly and carefully done, while automated jetting may not ensure an exact dose of chemical per sheep.

4.79 The timing of the application of chemicals is a vexed

matter, and one which will be largely solved if accurate

predictions of flywaves can be made. If treatment is delayed

until many overt strikes are observed, many sheep may be lost

because they cannot be mustered and treated quickly enough. Fly numbers may also be at a maximum when treatment takes place, thus increasing selection pressure for insecticide resistence. An early preventive spraying may be wasted if conditions inimical to

the development of a flywave occur.

4.80 The Committee does not oppose the sensible use of the

new low-toxicity insecticides against flystrike. Unlike their predecessors, their environmental impact is negligible. The

65

Committee received no evidence indicating that their application was stressful to the sheep. It appears, however, that the problem of resistance to chemicals is not unique. As the United States

Council for Agricultural Science and Technology reported:

4.81

The loss of effectiveness of pest-control

measures is not unique to chemicals. An

analogous process occurs when crops and

animals are bred with built-in genetic

resistance to destructive pests. When

confronted with a resistant host, the pest

eventually evolves into new race or strain

with counter-resistance or virulence. Thus, many resistant crops and animals do not remain resistant indefinitely. Additionally, pests may evolve resistance, but generally at a

relatively slow rate, to introduced biological controls, including pathogens, parasites and predators; to control measures based upon

physical factors and mechanical action; and to managerial practices ... 83

The Committee considers chemicals still have an

important role in an overall strike-minimisation programme, but should not be seen as the ultimate solution.

Vaccination

4.82 Modern techniques of molecular biology may eventually

allow the production of protective antigens against flystrike. Research is also in progress to find ways of immunising sheep

against the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is implicated in the development of fleece rot. Preliminary field studies have indicated the feasibility of the approach.

4.83 In line with its "broad brush" approach to flystrike

prevention, the Committee recommends the continuation of research into immunological approaches to flystrike prevention. For the present, however, and in the immediate future, the Committee

considers many welfare gains can be made by the inplementation of better, prevention producers.

more scientific and less hit-and-miss flystrike

and control management programmes by individual

66

CHAPTER 5

OTHER HEALTH AND HANDLING ISSUES

Introduction

5.1 In the course of its inquiry,

evidence on a number of sheep welfare

the Committee obtained issues. Some of these

issues others. inevitably were considered less extensively than

The presence of a sheep welfare issue in this more

general chapter is not, however, an indication of its relative lack of significance as a welfare issue in the eyes of the

Committee.

Internal parasites

5.2 Internal parasites in sheep include tapeworms,

liverfluke and gastro-intestinal nematodes. Their effects are particularly felt by sheep in high rainfall areas, and vary

according to breed, the severity and length of infection, the

sheep's nutritional status, resistance level and physiological state.l

5.3 A sheep infected by internal parasites will be anaemic,

will scour excessively and will lose appetite, resulting in

weight loss, a reduction in wool quantity and quality, and

eventually weakness, dehydration and possibly death.Internal parasites may also be responsible for decreased fertility, lower birth weight and an increased susceptibility to flystrike.2

67

5.4 In a year of high infection risk, an extension officer

survey estimated that 3.4 per cent of the sheep flock would die

of worm infestations, a slightly higher proportion than would be expected to die of flystrike (3.2 per cent>. The cost of internal parasites, production

derived from prevention and treatment measures and losses, was estimated at $3292 (at 1985 figures> per "average" farm of 2200 sheep in a low-risk season to $6187 in a

high-risk season.3

5 . 5

parasite pasture.4 chemical

Drenching is the standard treatment for internal

infestation, followed by placing the stock on clean

As has been noted previously, however, resistance to

treatment develops rapidly, and is accelerated by the frequent use of the same chemical. As worms develop resistance to anthelmintics more frequently, and so the cycle continues Keith Dash, of the CSIRO

in ever-shortening time periods. Dr Institute of Animal Production and

Processing, pointed out that some sheep are dosed seven to eight times a year.5

5.6 Dr Brennan, representing the RSPCA

frequently relied on at the expense of a whole array of husbandry techniques, including rotational grazing and cropping paddocks between using them for grazing.6

5.7 The Committee learnt that there was extensive

collaboration among the pharmaceutical and grazing industries, the CSIRO and the departments of agriculture on the subject of worm resistance and control. For the foreseeable future, it seems

likely that both grazing management and the use of anthelmintic drugs will be required. 7 The latter may be delivered via a

controlled-release capsule, which when lodged in the sheep's

68

rumen, releases the albendazole at a constant rate

for 100 days. State departments of agriculture promote worm

control programmes based on computer-simulation models of

parasite populations, such as the New South Wales WORMKILL and DRENCHPLAN programmes.

5.8 Controlled-release capsules, which are inserted down the animal's throat with a rumen gun, promise to prolong the life to the older, broad-spectrum anthelmintics. Concerns were informally expressed to the Committee that the capsules sometimes failed to

reach the rumen, or to stay there despite the plastic wings

intended to make them do so. The Committee nevertheless believes they represent a promising approach, when combined with pasture management, to the worm problem, and encourages continued

research into their efficacy.

Footrot

5.9 Footrot is a bacterial infection which occurs at the

skin-horn junction of the hoof and in the soft tissues under the hoof of the sheep. It distresses and debilitates sheep, by

causing severe lameness and an associated reduction in condition, wool growth and lambing success. In 1979 figures, each infected sheep was estimated to cost its owners $4.50 for treatment and

$4.20 in lost production.B

5. 10 Footrot is a problem of the higher rainfall areas of

southern Australia. Outbreaks tend to occur in spring when lush pastures and warm, moist conditions favour the spread of the

disease. It is a notifiable disease in the New England districts o f New South Wales, where a successful eradication programme has been waged.9 In Victoria, similar programmes have been attempted in the western districts and East Gippsland, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs hopes to have eradicated footrot

from Victoria by the year 2010.10

69

5.11 Traditional methods of treatment involved paring the

affected area of the foot by hand, and foot bathing. Vaccines

were developed in 1971, but failed and were subsequently

withdrawn from sale because they were not effective against all the different strains of Ba c l c roidcs n odos u s , the footrot

bacterium. Second generation vaccines, when correctly used, offer protection rates of 80 per cent or better for 12 to 14 weeks, and

will assist the healing process for those sheep already with

footrot. However, they sometimes cause irritations at the

injection site.

5.12 The development of a third generation of vaccines, using

recombinant DNA technology, is being actively supported by the Australian Wool Corporation.ll The Committee supports continued research into improved footrot vaccines, with the ultimate aim of eradicating the footrot organism.

Dehorning

5.13 The Committee was informed that dehorning was not a

common industry practice.l2 Tipping of horns, or taking the last

five to seven centimetres off the end of the horn, is done,

particularly on Merino rams, to prevent them from harming one another or getting caught in fences. The practice of keeping horn tips blunt was, according to Mr Thirkell-Johnston, President of the Tasmanian Fine Merino Breeders Association, a regular

management practice but one which caused the sheep little

distress because the cut never went down to the quick.l3

5.14 Horn tipping is performed with clippers or a hacksaw if

necessary, followed by emery paper to make the horn smooth. It is a practice condoned by the model code of practice for the welfare

of sheep, which recommends, however, that the amount of horn

removed should be limited to avoid damage to soft horn tissue and to limit associated bleeding.l4

70

5.15 As Mr Beggs pointed out, there are occasions when a horn

has to be removed, for example when it is damaged or when it

grows into the jawbone of the animal, preventing it from

eating.l5 Surgical wire is then used. The procedure is not one

that the AVA recommends as a routine measure, and the Committee agrees . Horn removal in the situations outlined is acceptable, and horn tipping is also, provided it is carefully done. As poll sheep of all breeds are readily available, there seems little

justification for breeding the horned varieties, only to cause them distress by tipping or removing the horns.

Teeth grinding

5.16 The natural abrasive action of pastures in sandy or

granite country tends to keep the sheep's teeth in good condition for many years, rendering dental treatment of any kind

unnecessary.l6 In wetter areas with softer pasture, the sheep's teeth may eventually grow longer than desirable and become

unstable, leading to the condition known as "broken mouth". The sheep can no longer feed properly and loses condition. Sheep with wobbly or missing incisor teeth are generally doomed anyway, as it has been observed that most Australian sheep farmers cull

their mature sheep on the basis of the condition of their

incisors.l7

5.17 Many attempts have been made ·aver the years to prevent

or correct faulty dentition in sheep. Even dentures have been

used, without conspicuous success.lB Hence clipping, trimming or grinding the teeth have been tried in an effort to prolong the

productive life of the sheep.

5.18 involves Clipping is performed with side-cutters or pliers and evening the length of the incisor crowns on an

individual sheep basis, to salvage an animal that would otherwise be culled. In teeth trimming, the crowns of the incisors are cut

off with the edge of an angle grinder disc to create a level

bite.l9 The procedure takes less than ten seconds per sheep.

71

5.19 The method which has generated most controversy is the

"Caldow technique'', named for Australian sheep farmer Howard Caldow, who used an electric grinder running at 11 000 rpm to cut the incisors level with the lower dental pad with a side-to-side motion.20 This procedure takes longer than teeth trimming, and generates considerable heat. Pulp exposure occurs in most cases, but is rapidly repaired. A gag is inserted in the mouth of the

sheep while the grinding is performed, to protect the lips and

depress the tongue. The sheep is normally held against the side of a race for the procedure.21

5.20 The Farm Animal Welfare Council in the United Kingdom

recommended a ban on the practice of tooth grinding in June 1986 and the British government agreed, later in the same year.22

5.21 Currently the practices of teeth trimming and teeth

grinding enjoy only modest support in this country. One estimate suggested that the procedure is applied to approximately one million sheep annually.23 Dr Meischke condemned its application on a whole-flock basis, as obviously only a certain number of the

sheep concerned would be suffering from poor dentition. He

considered teeth grinding "ought to be relegated to a procedure that is done on an individual animal basis•.24

5.22 The 1989 policy statement of the Australian Veterinary

Association on sheep dentition declared:

The Australian Veterinary Association believes that, with the present state of knowledge,

tooth clipping, tooth grinding and tooth

trimming are procedures that cannot be

justified or recommended because of the lack of demonstrated benefits to individual sheep and/or to flock productivity.

The Association recommends that the procedures not be done unless research establishes that benefits exist for the welfare, health and

production of the sheep.25

72

The Association pointed out that objective studies had indicated that the pain experienced by sheep exposed to teeth trimming or teeth grinding was of low intensity and short duration, and that healing was rapid.

5.23 Dr Denholm, one of the Victorian Department of

Agriculture and Rural Affairs researchers engaged in a

teeth-grinding project, outlined the results of preliminary work to the Committee. He found "the procedure is painful but that the level of pain is no greater and is probably substantially less

than that associated with a range of other routine husbandry

practices".26 Plasma total cortisol values returned to normal levels in 90 minutes after teeth trimming, and the sheep ate as

much thereafter and gained weight at the same rate as their

non-treated peers . 27 However, Dr Denholm also stated that sheep show no immediate benefit from the procedure.28

5.24 Periodontal problems are of genuine welfare concern to

the Australian sheep industry, in the opinion of the Committee, and every effort should be made on an individual basis to ensure that mature ewes who may be excellent mothers are not culled

before their time because of faulty dentition, if that dentition can be effectively repaired without undue pain to the sheep. The Committee considers that the practice of teeth grinding as a

preventative measure for entire flocks should be discouraged until research shows demonstrable productivity gains for the treated sheep.

Electro-immobilisation

5.25 Electro-immobilisation refers to the use of a pulsed

low-voltage electric current to an animal to produce a state of immobility. The current causes skeletal muscles to contract so that the animal becomes rigid. Electrodes are attached to each end of the animal and electric pulses of about one millisecond

are passed at a rate of 50 per second.29

73

5.26 Such immobilisers have been available since the 1970s

and have been used to restrain animals, particularly cattle, to facilitate routine husbandry procedures. Only minor use of

immobilisers occurs in sheep husbandry, with the notable

exception of the automated shearing system under development in Adelaide by the private company, Merino Wool Pty Ltd

.

5 . 27 Committee members viewed the electro-immobiliser in

action in Adelaide and heard the rationale for its use there. Mr Baxter, Technical Director of MWH, considered

electro-immobilisation provided a safer method of restraint f or automated shearing than leg restraint. He also asserted that

there was behavioural evidence that electro-immobilisation produced pain suppression and some subsequent short-lived

analgesia or calming effects.30 The passage of a current of twice the level needed to immobilise a large sheep was considered by the human researchers to be "strange" or "unpleasant" but not

painful, though Dr Kuchel noted that the variety of descriptions of the sensation bore testimony to the problems of studying

anything so subjective as pain.31 Dr Kuchel further indicated that, although large changes in cardiovascular and biochemical functions occur during electro-immobilisation, they are not life-threatening and the sheep recover within 30 minutes, on average.32

5.28 Much research evidence exists, and Dr Kuchel himself

acknowledges, that electro-immobilisation is a procedure which sheep find aversive.33

5.29 Choice tests by American animal handling authority Dr

Temple Grandin showed that ewes overwhelmingly preferred

restraint by squeeze-tilt table to electro-immobiliser . After once experiencing the latter, 56 per cent never chose it again, whereas 94 per cent of sheep volunteered again for the

squeeze-tilt table.34

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5.30 Researchers from the University of Melbourne studied the effects of electro-immobilisation at the request of the

Australian Wool Corporation, and with its financial assistance. Rushen compared the aversive properties of physical restraint with electro-immobilisation, on the basis of the amount of time the sheep took to run, or be pushed, through a race to the

testing site on a subsequent occasion. Both forms of restraint increased the time required to run through the race, though after f our trials, the sheep which had had the experience of

immobilisation difference was

had a greater average transit not apparent after only

time. However, the one exposure. The

aversiveness was more dependent on the intensity of the current used than on its duration.35

5 . 31 Another study by the Melbourne team offered sheep a

choice between electro-immobilisation and shearing, which is among the the more physiologically stressful of the routine

treatments that sheep undergo. Results indicated a slight

preference towards shearing, with the mean proportion of choices for shearing being .625.36

5.32 When the effects of electro-immobilisation and shearing on plasma concentrations of beta-endorphin/beta lipotrophin and cortisol were compared, the responses to the two procedures were not significantly different in terms of beta-endorphin levels

though one group of electro-immobilised animals which were also sham-shorn showed significantly higher cortisol

concentrations than did sheep which were only sham-shorn.37

5.33 Plasma cortisol levels in electro-immobilised sheep have been shown to inc reas e as the intensity of the current increases, though current duration does not significantly affect cortisol response. The researchers concluded that 30 mA would appear to be

the optimum current level.38

75

5.34 In the light of the research outlined above, many

witnesses to the Committee reacted cautiously. ANZFAS considered insufficient research had been done on electro-immobilisation to warrant a definitive comment.39 Dr Auty suspected

electro-immobilisation had the convenience of the operator more in mind than the welfare of the sheep.40 The AVA's attitude was one of suspicion, but it was willing to review its attitude when and if concrete evidence on the pain and analgesia questions was provided.41 Dr Lindsay's concern was that painful procedures might be performed on the immobilised animal without adequate anaesthesia.42 Professor Egan of the University of Melbourne pointed out that repeated electro-immobilisations brought about a reduction in the aversiveness of the procedure.43

5.35 In reviewing the research into the effects of

electro-immobilisation, and the evidence presented on the topic, the Committee concluded that the procedure is clearly aversive to sheep but that the level of aversion is of a similar order of

magnitude to that felt towards other routine husbandry

procedures. It is still unclear whether any analgesia results from electro-immobilisation, and if it does, it may or may not compensate for the associated stress. The Committee therefore considers that research should be continued into the possible analgesic effects of electro-immobilisation.

5.36 The Committee remains unconvinced that

electro-irnmobilisation is the least stressful means of

restraining sheep, and encourages research into innovative, less stressful alternatives. In the meantime, the Committee

considers that the technique should be applied with caution until further research clarifies the stress parameters associated with its use.

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Handling techniques and facilities

5.37 Many of the sheds, yards and races in use on sheep

sheep properties today were erected before research into behaviour outlined more desirable alternatives. While wholesale rebuilding or altering of existing facilities may not be

feasible , there is scope for enhanced sheep welfare with the use of facilities designed to accommodate the sheep's behavioural preferences.

5.38 Reviews of sheep behaviour in yards have shown that

sheep are more co-operative when they are allowed to use fixed routes with wide laneways, and when they are kept with their own flock and not harrassed.44 Characteristics of sheep which have implications for handling facilities are their excellent

wide-angled vision and their depth perception. Unobstructed views of where they are meant to move are desirable for ease of sheep

movement, as are floors without shadows, grates or longitudinal slats.45

5.39 Handling stress in sheep has been tested to show the

relative aversiveness of different situations. The most aversive was found to be involuntary rotation in isolation from other

sheep (as occurs in shearing, for example>. Isolation was more aversive than restraint in the presence of other sheep, while the presence of humans was least aversive.46 Manual restraint of individual sheep in a well-designed race for a simple procedure,

such as a vaccination, should not normally be considered a

significant stressor. Little work has been done on the

comparative aversiveness of the many mechanical restraints available, though some information will emerge on this issue from the automated shearing research.

5.40 Agricultural extension services have been active in

disseminating specific information about yard design and handling techniques.47 The Committee therefore will not consider these

77

issues in detail, as their implications for sheep welfare seem to be uncontroversial and are recognised and accepted by all

parties.

5.41 An integral part of the handling process is the

between humans and sheep. Where yards are well interaction designed, and sheep

the yarding process flows smoothly and both operators become less stressed. Where treatment generally is gentle and thoughtful, the sheep respond positively with better reproduction rates et cetera. Behavioural research at the

University of Melbourne showed that aversions can even be

extinguished if sheep are offered rewards after the procedure.48

5.42 The Committee recognises that any handling of sheep, no

matter how carefully and gently it is done, may be associated

with a modest level of stress. Good sense would therefore dictate that if husbandry operations can be combined, they should be, to minimise the number of mustering, yarding and handling occasions.

5.43 The Committee supports the suggestion of Professor Egan, who called for more training in behaviour-based skills in animal handling both for the benefit of the animal, which would run less risk of stress and injury, and of the operator, who would find

his work easier and more productive.49

Marketing

5.44 The welfare aspects of the selling of sheep were

addressed by only a few witnesses as the principal thrust of this inquiry was on-farm sheep welfare. Issues relating to

transport of stock will be addressed in a separate inquiry. The Committee was impressed, however, with what it learnt about

computer-aided marketing systems. One such system is CALM, an acronym for Computer Aided Livestock Marketing. It is a private

78

company established by the Australian Meat and Livestock

Corporation . In CALM, stock remain on the property until they are sold. Physical descriptions of the animals, prepared by

accredi t ed assessors according to recognised standard

measurements , are made available e l ectro nically to prospective purchasers o ne day in advance of the s ale, at which bidders can

log in from all over the country.50

5.45 Such a marketing system has to be preferable for the

welfare o f the animals concerned, as they do not have to be

mustered, loaded, transported and held in yards, enduring

sometimes adverse weather, f or the duration of the sale.

5.46 CALM achieved a market penetration of one per cent of

all sheep sales in 1987-88, its first year of operation. (ibid)

In 1988-89, 945 000 sheep or two per cent of all sales were

listed with CALM. According to the Minister for Primary

Industries and Energy, the Han. John Kerin, MP, CALM is expected to be commercially viable by the early 1990s.51

5.47 The Committee supports the development of computer-aided sheep marketing on welfare grounds.

Intensive husbandry

5.48 The Committee will consider the welfare implications of t he intensive raising of sheep in the inquiry into intensive

livestock production which it is currently undertaking.

Slaughter

5.49 farm, injury,

From time to time, sheep will need to be killed on the

either to release them from further suffering following an or to provide meat. A quick and painless death can be

79

achieved by the use of a firearm (a .22 calibre rifle or .32

calibre humane killer pistol> to the head of the sheep or by

stunning to the front of the skull with a captive bolt stunner,

followed by immediate bleeding out.

5.50 The time-honoured practice of bleeding-out of sheep

using a sharp knife, followed by dislocation of the neck, without pre-stunning, is considered a humane alternative method of

slaughter by draft three of the model code of practice for the

welfare of sheep, provided that the task is performed by a

skilled person. Research is continuing into appropriate forms of humane slaughter.

5.51 The Committee encourages all centres which train

persons in agricultural skills to ensure that its students

acquire the necessary ability to despatch animals humanely.

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CHAPTER 6

SHEARING

I ntroduction

6.1 Sh e aring, o r the proc ess of r emovi ng the wool f rom a

sheep , i s necessary as today's s heep has lost t he c apac ity of its

anc estors t o shed its fleece natur ally. Fleece growth depe nds on many factors, including the breed o f the sheep, i ts c ond i t i on and

envi ronme ntal conditions. In 1986-87 the average Australian fleece weighed 4 . 51 kg.1

6.2 If the wool is not harvested, i t conti n ues to g row

i ndefin i tely, causing great discomfort to the sheep . Apart f rom

having to bear the additional weight of the fleece, the shee p may become wool-blind, it may become more prone to attack from

external parasites or, if female, she may lose her lamb becaus e of t he difficulty the latter experiences in suckling .

6.3 A graphic illustration of the results of non- shearin g

wa s provided to the Committee in the form of 160 sheep which had been confiscated from a property near Bombala in southern New South Wales by the RSPCA on the grounds of neglect. Th e animals had staple lengths of up to 54 em; they were cratling wi th lice

a nd encrusted with dags; and entwined in their fleeces were

barbed wire, twigs, twine and assorted insects. Many of the sheep had difficulty in walking, feeding or suckling their young.2

6 . 4 In Australia, shearing is normally performed annually,

although the Committee was informed that some carpet wool sheep we re shorn twice a year . 3 Depending on owner preference and the a vai lability of shearers, shearing can take place in any month of the year, with the peak period ranging from April to November.

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The timing of shearing

6.5 The timing of shearing has a considerable bearing on

sheep welfare, as in the two to three weeks following shearing, the sheep is highly susceptible to adverse climatic conditions, particularly driving rain, wind and cold. The Committee noted that some of the worst cases of post-shearing losses of shee p

occurred in December, a month in which such conditions would not normally be expected.4

6.6 The most appropriate time

districts was canvassed by many

for shearing in the various groups and individuals who

appeared before the Committee, as was the question of the timing of lambing in relation to shearing. Advocates for most

alternatives were found. Adherents of autumn shearing insisted that it was safer, because of the relatively mild weather

generally experienced then. Others favoured winter shearing so that the ewe lambing in spring would be more likely to seek a

sheltered spot, thus enhancing the survival chances of both ewe and lamb. Supporters of spring shearing, post lambing,, maintained that there was less likelihood of damage to the foetus if the

pregnant ewe did not have to go through the stressful shearing process. Summer shearing was not advocated, on human rather than animal welfare grounds.

6.7 The Committee concluded that the timing of shearing was

not a major sheep welfare issue, provided that two points were borne in mind. Firstly, sheep need to go into shearing in good

condition, so that they can better cope with the shock of the

sudden loss of a warm fleece and are physically strong enough to be able to eat more and thus to stay warm. Secondly, adequate

shelter needs to be provided for the sheep after shearing. This may take the form of trees, shelter belts of tall non-palatable grasses or shrubs, sheds, or sheep coats. Trees, shelter belts and sheds have been discussed in Chapter 3, as they pertain

equally to the survival of the new-born lamb.

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Sheep coats

6. 8 Post-shearing losses were a source of worry to the

ma jority of witnesse s appearing before the Committee. One method

a dvocated for preventing such losses, partic ularly in the

tabl e lands, was the u se o f sheep c oats. Sheep coats are generally constructed of lightwe ight plastic, some times with elasticised f ronts. They are available in various sizes to fit neatly ove r

the sheep, leaving the breech free. Costs range from two to five

dollars, although as Dr Brennan graphically illustrated at a

Committee hearing, make shift coats can be prepared at little cos t

f rom plastic garbage bags.S Research has shown that such coats

a r e nevertheless quite effic acious in the short term. One

experiment by Ellis e t al . showed that such coats succeeded i n

keeping alive even we t sheep which showed acute signs o f

hypothermia.6 The better-quality coats are r e usable.

6 .9 The Committee was informed that up to one million sheep

a re now being protected by sheep coats in Australia, particularly

i n the colder areas of New South Wales and Victoria.?

6 . 1 0 Advocates of sheep coats point to their many advantages,

i n addition to saving sheep from climatic extremes . The currently

used fabrics, such as polyethylene, are rain-resistant yet allow a free flow of air, so problems with lumpy wool or fleece rot are

reduced . Burrs, grass seeds and dirt are eliminated from the

covered area, thus improving sheep comfort and wool quality .

Coated sheep show marked bodyweight gains, particularly in the

winter months. The labour involved in coating or decoating the sheep is not prohibitive and can normally be combined with

routine husbandry procedures. It has also been claimed that the use of coats reduces the incidence of body strike,8 although the e vidence here is more equivocal .

83

6.11 Other groups and individuals, while accepting the value

of coats as thermal insulators, felt compelled to criticise them on other grounds. The Australian Veterinary Association

representatives pointed out how poorly sheep coats wear in timber or scrub country. They also alluded to the potential for wool

contamination from weathered artificial fibre particles.9 Dr Meischke commented that the problem of fit had not yet been

adequately resolved. In the case of coats left on all year,

fleece growth results in the coat becoming progressively tighter, and either restricting the sheep's movement or tearing .lO The labour involved in coating the sheep was such that Dr Osborne

deemed it "prohibitive" in an extensive situation.ll

6.12 On balance, the Committee believes that the value of

sheep coats as protectors from cold and wind stress has been

proved. The Committee is not in favour of the mandatory use of

coats on newly shorn sheep, as many properties provide other

adequate forms of shelter, or do not experience climatic extremes which would require their use. However, in the colder areas of

the country, the Committee believes that the use of coats for at least three weeks post-shearing is invaluable. It urges the

relevant departments of agriculture to continue their advocacy of the coats as a means of reducing post-shearing losses. It further urges manufacturers of the coats to continue work on the fabric and design of the coats.

The shearing process

6.13 Shearing is normally carried out in purpose-built sheds by teams of contract shearers, using a power-driven metal

handpiece consisting of a cutter and a comb. The sheep are yarded some time in advance of the process and deprived of food and

drink, sometimes for up to 24 hours. They are then urged up a

84

race , penned, caught, upended, dragged to the shearing station and shorn. The time taken per sheep by a skilled shearer ranges

from 1.5 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the sheep, its

fleece characteristics and degree of body wrinkle.12

6.14 Not surprisingly, research has shown that the sheep

finds this process quite stressful on a number of counts. Being rounded-up, yarded, separated from its fellows for the shearing itself, being involuntarily rotated and possibly being nicked or cut, have been shown individually and cumulatively to induce

raised cortisol

saliva.13

levels, whether measured in plasma or

6.15 The Australian Wool Corporation estimates that, as of 1

January 1989, the total cost of shearing and crutching the

Australian sheep flock, including classing and pressing the wool, amounted to $652 million. The contract shearing rate, per sheep, was $3.14.14 Apart from the costs involved 1 the problem of labour is worrying the industry. The number of young shearers is

dropping, a fact which may accentuate the problems for farmers of obtaining shearing teams at the time they would like to shear. In 1988 the Australian Wool Corporation spent $635,000 on training shearers and shed staff15 in an effort both to maintain the

supply of shearers and to ensure that those shearers are trained in the proper techniques of handling and shearing sheep.

6.16 Apart from addressing the training needs of shearers,

the industry has not been unmindful of the other improvements that can be made to the traditional shearing process. Yard and

shed design can be improved, in the light of recent research into sheep behaviour. While it would be unrealistic to expect farmers to pull down their old sheds and construct new ones more attuned to the needs of the sheep, at least those starting from scratch

will be able, with advice from their local department of

agriculture, to erect a structure which will obviate some of the problems of the old sheds. Inexpensive modifications can also be

85

made, including front-fill catching pens, slide-swing, lift-swing and tip-swing gates, and distance ramps rather than chutes by

which the sheep can exit. Improvements such as raised shearing boards, Fawcett shearing mats, self-pinning presses and rotating circular wool tables are of little direct assistance to the

sheep, but by improving the work flow and working conditions in the shed, they may bring with them indirect benefits from

relaxed, less-pressured shearers and shed hands.16

6.17 Other areas in which the traditional shearing process

can be improved for both sheep and shearer are in the design of

the handpiece, and in support devices. Wide combs, which are now generally accepted despite the acrimonious industrial disputes of the early 1980s, speed up the shearing at least a little.17 Work is in progress to make handpieces lighter, cooler, quieter, more manoeuverable and to vibrate less.18 The Australian Wool

Corporation is currently supporting four research projects worth in total SA152,344 to "develop and evaluate novel and

conventional manual shearing concepts".19

Alternatives to conventional shearing

6.18 problems reflected

The extent to which the present and predicted future associated with shearing dominate in the priorities accorded

industry thinking is to research into

alternatives to conventional shearing by funding bodies. Almost two million dollars of the AWC and other

the AWC budget of

six and a quarter million dollars for research and development to improve the health and welfare of sheep are devoted to projects which are investigating biological wool harvesting or robotic shearing. Both approaches offer considerable potential to improve the welfare of sheep.

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Bio logical wool harvesting

6.19 The CSIRO has been researching skin and fleece biology

f o r many years and has been engaged in the search for a chemical

a lte rnative to shearing for 15 years. Recently the Division of

Animal Production patented a new process of harvesting wool, us ing a naturally occurring protein, epidermal growth factor

body weight> is given in a single, subcutaneous injection. This r esults in a weakening of the wool fibres temporarily, with

no rmal growth resuming in a matter of days. The weakened zone is

then carried above the skin and the fleece is protected by a

rete ntion system for four to six weeks, at which time the fleece may be removed by hand.20 Commercial quantities of EGF are now

able to be produced in co-operation with Coopers Animal Health Australia Ltd, using genetic engineering techniques.

6 . 20 In their evidence to the Committee, CSIRO officers

stressed that the then fleece retention system

recently, they have begun using a full lightweight body jacket which "breathes" and which is fastened with Velcro strips. The upended sheep is clipped in by its legs to a sheep "train" for

its EGF shot, a pre-shearing clean-up and jacket fitting, all of which takes about one minute. Wool harvesting is still by hand, about six weeks later, with the harvester running his fingers

down under the fleece much in the way a shearer does, to remove

the fleece in one piece.22

6.21 Preliminary trials of the technology have been conducted in the field and, according to Dr Trevor Scott, then Divisional chief, were "extremely well-received".23 The CSIRO is aiming to have a first generation biological wool harvesting technology

available commercially by 1991.24 Current project aims are to

87

refine the dose rate and variation in response across strains; to ascertain the optimum treatment period; to define the wool

retention and removal system; to carry out large-scale field

trials; and to ascertain cost-benefits. 25

6.22 According to the CSIRO officers, biological wool

harvesting has many advantages over conventional shearing. Initial problems with cold stress or sunburn of the sheep's bare skin have been overcome by allowing sufficient wool regrowth before the fleece is harvested. As the fleece becomes loose after six weeks, no pain is experienced by the sheep when its wool is

removed and it suffers no cuts or bruises in the process. There

is also less danger of infection. If crutching were carried out at the time of the EGF injection, there would be the added

advantage for the sheep of less yarding and handling, and for the owner, a cleaner clip.26

6.23 The critics of biological wool harvesting have pointed

to a few areas in which they believe the process to be deficient. Professor Setchell, Professor of Animal Sciences at the

University effective of Adelaide, observed that the threshold between an dose of EGF and a lethal dose was very narrow.27 To

this, Dr Scott replied:

During the past 4 years we have administered EGF to approximately 1000 sheep at dose rates in the range of 30-600ug/Kg/body weight and no deaths have occurred.28

In its submission to the Committee, ANZFAS pointed out that sheep show wide variations in response to EGF and therefore a standard dose could not be administered to the flock to achieve the same

effect on every animal.29

6.24 that

Another area in which concerns have been expressed is •

of the effects of EGF on the sheep's reproductive

characteristics. In rams, CSIRO research has shown that, while their sexual activity was not influenced by EGF, temporary

88

i mpa irme nt in spermatogenesis does occur for up t o nine week s

after t r e atme nt with d epilato r y doses o f EGF (tha t is, d oses o f

> 1 0 0 u g / kg body weight>. In ewes, dosing in early or mid c y c l e

may lead to slightly d e laye d oestrus and normal to increa sed

f e c u ndity , while d o sing l a t e in the cycle r esults in

approximately twice the leng t h o f interval between c y c l es but

un i mpair ed f ecundity .30 I f f urthe r res e arch confirms t h e s e

find ings on a larger p opulation, t h e n in we lfare t e rms, EG F coul d

not be said t o be harmful in t e rms o f its e ffec t s on

reproduction.

6 . 25 Questions have b e en raised about the effects of res idual

EGF on humans, were they t o con sume a d o sed sheep . While

detectable amounts of EGF and its me tabolites d o remain i n

muscle, residues gut . 31

6.26 we lfare

fat, liver and kidne ys, it is presumed that t hese

would be broken down by intestinal enzymes in the human

While wool growth and wool quality are not significant issues, they are of vital concern to the industry.

Re search is currently in progress to determine the long-term

qualitative and quantitative effects of EGF on wool .

6 . 27 Not all animal welfare organisations were enthusiastic

about the prospects of biological wool harvesting. ANZFAS, for example, declared that it was "a project before its time",32 that it had run for 15 years with little to show for the money

expended and that there were more worthy research areas with a greater likelihood of timely solutions.

6 . 28 While not denying the existence of other sheep welfare

problems, the Committee believe s that research into biological wool harvesting should be continued until the long- term effects of the application of depilatory doses of EGF have been fully

examined; the stresses, if any, of the harvesting process

c ompared with those caused by other shearing methods; and its economic viability assessed.

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Robotic shearing

6.29 An alternative method of harvesting wool has been

developing in competition with biological wool harvesting 1 namely automated or robotic shearing. Projects are underway in both

Adelaide and Perth 1 using different methods of animal restraint and different sensing mechanisms.

6.30 The Perth project has been conducted by the Department

of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Western Australia since 1978 and is supported financially by the Australian Wool Corporation. It relies on an automatic manipulator which moves the sheep from one shearing position to another 1 and stretches its neck and legs. A blindfold helps keep the sheep extremely

still. The shearing robot 1 consisting of a mechanical arm powered by hydraulic actuators 1 has sensors in the cutting mechanism

which measure the distance between the cutter and the sheep's skin. Force sensors and overload projection devices are fitted to prevent injury to the sheep in the event of uncor.trolled actuator movement.

6.31 The project 1 when fully developed 1 hopes to achieve

fully automated shearing of the whole sheep in four minutes 1 a

time comparable with manual shearing; software development which will allow for the biological variability of sheep; compact units able to be easily transported; and allow for automated or manual capturing of the sheep.33 By February 1989 it had reached the

stage where a sheep could be fully shorn in twenty minutes and

major changes were being made to the restraint mechanisms which would significantly improve the comfort of the sheep during the operation.

6.32 The Adelaide project has been undertaken by a private

company 1 Merino Wool Harvesting Pty Ltd 1 with initial financial support from the Australian Wool Corporation until 1987-88 1 the Industrial Research and Incentives Scheme and other sources. Its

90

present funding comes from Elders IXL, which has committed

$5.4 mi l lion to see the research and development phase throught t o its completion. It differs from its Western Australian

counterpart in that it relies on electro-immobilisation as its method of restraining the sheep, which is then shorn upright

rather than rotated.34 It also differs from the Perth project in that it leaves the awkward wool

shearers will retain their skills and indeed perhaps develop

other skills, such as classing, while the heavier, more

back-breaking job of fleece removal is done robotically. It will also allow for faster throughput of sheep, with each party doing the job most suited to him.

6.33 By the end of 1988, the Adelaide project had reached the

stage where the robot performed its part of the shearing process in 100 seconds. Questions which remained to be answered were the methods of getting the sheep to the robots and the order in which the manual and the robotic parts of the process were performed.

Goals of the project now are to attain a complete throughput time

of 105 seconds with a prototype in the field by December 1990 for twelve months of field trials.

6.34 Electro-immobilisation has been considered in more

detail in Chapter 5. In the case of robotic shearing, its

application certainly provides an immobile animal around which the robot can work with little to no danger of mishaps. However, serious questions are still being voiced about this procedure and the extent to which sheep find it aversive. Before advocating any

robotic shearing device which depended for its operation on an electro-immobilised subject, the Committee would wish to see the results of a controlled aversion trial comparing conventional

manual shearing, robotic shearing using the Western Australian restraints and robotic shearing using electro-immobilisation.

91

6.35 In the opinion of the Committee, alternative shearing

techniques must be pursued with vigour. There is a move away from all forms of heavy manual labour, such as traditional represents, in our society.35 Traditional shearing costs can be expected to continue to increase faster than prices,36

particularly in respect of the compensation component, which is already approaching Sl million per annum in Western Australia alone.37 There is an urgent need to ensure that widely-based

research continues into efficient methods of harvesting wool.

6.36 Concerns have nevertheless been expressed about robotic shearing in its present state of development. It is only fair to say that many of these concerns have been recognised by the

developers themselves and will be or are already being addressed.

6.37 process trials accident

Firstly, there is concern about the safety of the

for both sheep and operator. One sheep died in the Perth when a robot moved inadvertently through the rib cage, an which brought the programme to a halt for six months

until automatic measures were built into the equipment to ensure that such a horrific event would not recur.38 Other more minor injuries, such as cuts, have been sustained by the Perth sheep. A final product will have to demonstrate a proven safety record

before it is acceptable.

6.38 The method of sheep restraint is also a cause for

concern. Any process which involves involuntary rotation has been shown to be stressful to sheep. The studies referred to in

Chapter 5 show that sheep find the process of

electro-immobilisation more aversive than traditional shearing, although it must be recognised that preference studies can only demonstrate relative and not absolute values.

6.39 Thirdly, there are the practical concerns about the

transportability of sensitive electronic and other equipment, its maintenance and general robustness in remote and climatically intemperate locations, and the industrial sensitivities of the introduction of such technology.39

92

6.40 the economic viability of robotic shearing has

yet to be demonstrated . While this is not strictly speaking a

welfare matter, it does have welfare implications. If robotic shearing can be shown to produce a clean, uncut and unstresse d

sheep in a relaxed e nvironment, it will encourage productivity i ncreases which may offset additional costs of the technique .

The future of shearing

6 . 41 Mo st wool industry representatives were in agreement

with Mr Alan Bowman, a representative of the Wool Council of

Australia, who expressed the opinion that both biological wool harvesting and robotic shearing had a long way to go before they cou ld be considered viable options .40

6.42 The Committee commends the Australian Wool Corporation, Elders IXL, the CSIRO and o ther organisations which have had the foresight to fund the investigation of alternatives to

traditional shearing practices. The Committee recommends that research be continued into alternatives to conventional shearing, and particularly into the sheep welfare aspects of all

alternative methods of wool harvesting. As an interim measure, pending the likely future introduction of alternative methods of wool harvesting, the Committee recommends that research be

continued into improvements to manual shearing.

93

CHAPTER 7

REPRODUCTION

Int r oducti on

7. 1 One of the aspects of sheep husbandry which

the

was

unanimously criticised by n o n - industry groups repr o duc tive performance of Australian sheep, comparis o n with European sheep. As discussed in comparisons are potentially misleading, given

breeds o f sheep raised in the two regions and

climatic conditions in which they are raised.

was poor

particul arly in Cha pter 3, such the different the differing

7.2 Lamb losses and preventive measures have been considered in Chapter 3. In this chapter, the Committee will consider the

we lfare aspects of the reproductive process itself, rather than i ts aftermath. Issues such as the timing, length and frequency of

j oining of rams with ewes, the number of rams used and the size

o f mating paddocks will be considered, as will the influences of

such factors as nutrition and breed. The Committee will then

analyse the welfare aspects of some methods of manipulating

reproduction, such as artificial insemination, embryo transfer and genetic engineering. Finally, the Committee will consider the breeding objectives of the wool and sheepmeat industries and t he ir implications for sheep welfare.

Tr aditional sheep reproduction

7 . 3 The reproductive performance of Australian sheep,

me asured by lamb marking percentages, was 78 per cent for

1986 - 8 7 . It varied from 92 per cent in Tasmania to 62 per cent in

95

Queensland, reflecting the influence of climate and breed of

sheep.l In other words, the genetic potential for reproduction is not being realised in most Australian pastoral enterprises.

7.4 The reasons for this are economic - it is generally not

financially worthwhile to hand-feed, when pasture is deficient in quality or quantity; nor is it generally financially worthwhile, or indeed sometimes even possible, to increase human labour

input. Whether or not it is desirable for a sheep to realise its

reproductive potential is a moot point in any case. An ability to reproduce generally suffices to ensure that a ewe is not culled, while multiple births, unaided, and particularly in Merinos, can be a health hazard to the ewe.

7.5 The timing of joining depends firstly on the time the

sheep are sexually active. In most British breeds of sheep, this is generally between February and June. In Merinos the breeding season is much longer, from December to September, and even in

the intervening months a high proportion of the ewe flock can be {nduced to sexual receptivity and ovulation by the introduction of rams.2

7.6 The main breeding season in most Australian States is

autumn, allowing the lambs to be born in spring after a gestation period of from 147 to 152 days. This is possibly the optimum

choice for the welfare of ewes and lambs, as a spring lambing

normally coincides with improving weather and new pasture growth. However, its corollary is that the ewes mate and are pregnant at times when pasture is at its least plentiful and least

nutritious, resulting in a greater susceptibility of the ewes to dystocia.

7.7 It is unlikely, however, that "encouraged" matings at a

time when the ewe flock is largely anoestrous in spring are

positively harmful in welfare terms, though they may be less

successful.3

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7.8 The length of joining has more welfare implications.

Ewe s a r e in oestrus at intervals of 17 days on a v erage, with a

range o f 15 to 20 days,4 while the oestrus itself lasts for 24 to

36 h o urs. 5 A joining period of six wee ks, as recomme nde d by the

New South Wale s Agriculture and Fishe rie s6 allows ewes two c y c les

in which t o conceive, yet restricts the lambing period t o a

manageable length . A prolonged j oining period would result i n an equ a lly prolonged lambing period, resulting in the likelihood o f some lambs being marked very earl y. La t e-lambing ewes may

late and others being weaned v e ry not regain appropriate liveweight

and c ondit ion before the next mating period, thus jeopardising their chances of a succ essful outcome .

7.9 Other factors affecting the success of mating are the

age o f both rams and e wes, the numbe r and fertility of r a ms use d

and the size of the mating paddocks.

7. 10 Th e fertility of the ewe is at its peak at four years

of age and remains constant at that level until eight.7 British breeds are more precocious than Merinos, and in good c onditions c a n reach puberty at four months, though it is generally accepted

that they should not give birth until they are two years old.8

7 . 11 Ram welfare also needs to be considered before and at

j o ining time. Merino rams can attain puberty from four months to

two years9 but are at their peak in reproductive terms from t wo

to three years of age. Rams nee d to be carefully examined before being introduced to the ewes to ensure they are in good physical health. As the usual joining ratio of rams to ewes is 1:50, it is

important that the ram is not suffering from arthritis, foot

a b scesses or abnormalities of the testis, epididymis or penis, any of which would make his duties potentially painful . Recent s urv eys of flocks in New South Wales and Victoria have shown that

between 15 and 20 per cent of rams we re unsound for breeding,10

sugges ting that more attention needs to be paid to the condition

97

of rams before joining, for both welfare and sound management

reasons. Blood t ests for ovine b ruce llosis should be carried out and r eplacement rams should be acquired from ovine

brucellosis-free accredited fl ocks. Crutching and jetting of the rams is advisable if there is any danger of their being

flystruck, as that can reduce fertility.ll

7.12 Large mating paddocks, and especially undulating ones

with she ltered gullies, are not a welfare hazard per se, but may result in l ower conception rates as rams may simply fail to find

all the ewes or have to expend much more energy in doing so. If

such areas have to be used, commonsense and animal welfare

considerations would both dictate that a higher percentage of rams be used.

7.13 Nutrition, in both a qualitative and quantitative s ense, is the dominant influence on reproductive success. Ma ting of

stock should not be contemplated in conditions of fodder

scarcity, if the owner is not prepared to hand-feed as and when

necessary. Nature intervenes to some extent in this situation, as ewes below a certain critical liveweight <30-35 kg, depending on breed and strain> will not get in lamb. Once in lamb, however,

and especially in the six weeks before birth, it is vital for

both ewe and foetus that the food supply be increased in order to prevent pregnancy toxaemia and to ensure a good milk supply.13

Breeding objectives

7.14 The end products of the sheep-raising industry are wool

and meat, the relative importance of which varies among the

different parts of Australia. Sheep breeders are constantly

aiming to improve the overall standard of their flock by

selecting sheep for increased fleece weight, for a specific fibre diameter, for reproductive performance or for body weight .

98

7.15 Substantial progress can b e attained by rigorou s

s e l ection f o r the d esire d charac t e ris tics. In research fl ock s at

Trangie , Ne w So uth Wales , after eight g e n e r a tions <23 years) a 20

per cen t inc r ease in wool produc tion was achieve d. Howeve r, at

tha t poin t , t he f l ock ceased t o res p o nd t o further selection.

Also , the gai n s we r e made at the e xpense o f fibre d iamete r, which

incr eased from 1 9 t o 21.2 micro ns . 14

7 .1 6 Body we i ght a nd early growth rate respond well t o

se l ectio n, with an established h e ritability figure o f 0.3s.15

7 .17 I ncreasingly, however, attention i s being paid to o the r

breeding o bjec tive s, such as "easy-care " shee p resistant t o

flystrike, fl e ece r o t and inte rnal parasites and which r e qui r e

little assistance at lambing.

7 .1 8 While suc h ob j e ctives are obviously highly desirable in

sheep welfa re terms, and have been enthusiastically supported by ma ny animal welfare groups, there are two major

there

problems can be concerning their i ncompatibilities

Ke nnedy pointed

realisation. amo ng objectives,

out to the

Firstly, and secondly, as Professor Committee, in conventional

q uantitative genetics , the improvements which can be made are

very slow.l6 The establishment of large group breeding schemes is he l p ing to overcome the problem of slow genetic response to

selection within small private flocks.17

7. 19 Selection for resistance to flystrike, for example, is a

possible long-term solution to the problem of flystrike.

Ac cording to New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries

researchers Raadsma and Rogan18 the heritability of liability to body c auses

strike and to fleece rot, one of the major predisposing

of body strike , is about 0.4.19 though other researchers hav e cited a lower figure.20 However, it seems that fleece rot

99

and fleece weight are positively correlated, so that by selecting against fleece rot, a producer may find his animals produce less woo1.21 Similarly, by opting to produce heavier fleeces, a

producer will be faced with wool of increased fibre diameter.

7.20 In their review of genetic parameters for reproductive

traits, Purvis and colleagues22 concluded that many traits, such as maternal rearing ability, would respond better to management decisions than they would to selective breeding programmes.

7.21 An interesting development in manipulating sheep

prolificacy has been the use of Booroola Merinos, named for the Cooma property whose Merino ewes were noted in 1958 for their

twinning propensity. In mixed-age Booroola research flocks, mean litter sizes of 2.5 have been observed. Research has shown that a single major gene, now known as the F gene, affects the Booroola ovulation rate additively one copy of the gene increases

ovulation by up to 1.5 eggs, two copies by 3 eggs. However, in

breeds of high prolificacy, second copies of the F gene are less dominant.23 The gene appears not to affect body weight, fleece weight or fibre diameter. The most promising results from the use of the Booroola Merino are in crosses with British breeds, where

the high litter sizes are exploited for increased prime lamb

production.24

7.22 The Committee is concerned that attempts to exploit the

potential of the Booroola strain also take into consideration the problem of lower lamb birth weight and greater lamb losses,

especially amongst higher order births.

7.23 The development of WOOLPLAN in 1984 by a sub-committee

of the Sheep Performance Recording Co-ordinating Committee, established by the Standing Committee on Agriculture, has enabled breeders to use objective measures in their selection programmes. WOOLPLAN is the national performance recording scheme for Merino

and other non-pedigreed wool sheep breeds. It ranks animals on

100

predicted breeding value according to breeding objectives

selecte d by the producer, and is available through accredited wool t e sting laboratories.25 It could be the stimulus for

co-opera tive sheep-breeding research projects which could lead to r ea l genetic progress in the national wool sheep flock.

7.24 Even were producers to be swayed to the welfare rather

than the economic side of the selective breeding debate, dramatic results could not be expected in the short term. Professor

Kennedy suggested that, with conventional selective breeding, improvements in fleece weight uf about only one per cent per

annum could be achieved. More dramatic changes are unlikely

because of the sheep's natural balancing or homeostasis.26

7.25 The Committee believes that every effort should be made

to encourage research into breeding for resistance to deleterious and heritable diseases and parasites. It accepts that most

producers cull animals with obvious defects from their flocks. However, chemicals more can and should be done to lessen our dependence on

and to lessen the problems associated with parasitic resistance to chemicals.

Manipulation of reproduction

7.26 Reproduction can be artificially manipulated in a number of ways, involving no direct contact between ram and ewe in the

process of fertilisation. They include artificial insemination, embryo transfer and genetic engineering.

Artificial insemination

7.27 Artificial insemination is a method of breeding in which

semen is obtained from the male and introduced into the female

reproductive tract by means of instruments.27 Semen can be

collected from the ram by training him to use an artificial

101

vagina or by the use of an electro-ejaculator , while the ewe is

inseminated cervically or vaginally by pipette, or laparascopy is used to deposit the semen directly in the uterus.28 Either fresh or frozen semen may be used.

7.28 The technique of artificial insemination is widely used

throughout the world, especially in the cattle industry. It

appears to be gaining ground slowly but steadily in Australia in the sheep industry. In the 1988-89 season, it is estimated that

less than half of one per cent of the total ewe flock will be

artificially inseminated.29

7.29 The advantages of artificial insemination are many. With conventional mating, a ram is expected to cover generally 50 and up to 100 females per year, while with int rauterine insemination of frozen-stored semen, it is estimated that up to 25,000 ewes

could be inseminated from a single ram each year.30 Even allowing for the reduced fertility sometimes experi enced with artificial insemination, the number of lambs per ram will be far in excess

of that achieved naturally. The influence of superior rams can thus spread further, faster.

7.30 Semen, whether fresh or frozen, can be transported more

easily and cheaply than rams and can be obtai ned from valuable

animals which may be prevented by some i nfirmity from mating. Semen banks can preserve frozen semen for use long after the

death of the provider ram, and when his progeny have proved

themselves to be superior animals.

7.31 When synchronised breeding is used in conjunction with

artificial insemination, lambing and lamb marking can be more easily managed at appropriate times for both animals and

producer.

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7.32 however. diseases,

Artificial insemination has some potential hazards, If the rams used are not thoroughly checked for

then those diseases may be spread much more rapidly than otherwise. Similarly, as Professor Kennedy pointed out, unfavourable genes can be spread rapidly.31

7.33 The methods used to collect semen, while not in

themselves hazardous, may cause some discomfort to the ram,

particularly electro-ejaculation. In this method, a probe in the rectum transmits low voltage electric pulses to stimulate output of spermatozoa. The ram is restrained on his side for the

p r ocedure. Studies by Martin and colleagues have reported

significantly elevated plasma concentrations of cortisol and prolactin for up to two hours following electro-ejaculation.32

7.34 The use of an artificial vagina, a device which

imitates the vagina and provides temperature and pressure

stimulation to the erect penis of the ram, seems to be a

preferred option, where possible. Rams are trained to use the

device easily, by the presence of a "teaser" oestrous ewe

restrained in a bail. While cortisol rise with the use of an artificial

natural mating> they do so to a far

normal levels more quickly.33

and prolactin levels still vagina (as they do with

lesser extent and return to

7.35 It was unclear to the Committee how widespread the use

of electro-ejaculators is. The Committee accepts that their use may be necessary on health grounds for semen examination when the ram is unable to use an artificial vagina. However, for semen

collection purposes, preferable. artificial vaginas would appear to be

7.36 Artificial insemination is certainly more stressful to

the ewe than natural mating, as it involves human handling and, in the case of intrauterine insemination, minor surgery. The

simplest method, and one used extensively in Western Australia

103

with apparently good results, is to walk the oestrous ewes

through a race, restrain each one momentarily and insert the

semen via plastic pipette into the vagina. Cervical insemination involves locating the entrance to the cervix with a speculum and depositing the semen there with a pipette. The ewe's hindquarters need to be elevated for this to be done successfully. Larger

quantities of semen are required for both these methods than for intrauterine insemination, which involves the use of a local

anaesthetic, after which small incisions are made in the

abdominal wall to allow the passage of a laparoscope to identify the organs and a pipette to place the semen.

7.37 Intrauterine insemination is the most successful of the

three procedures and is the preferred option of many of the major studs, such as Collinsville, which uses the procedure on more

than 50 per cent of its ewes.34 The resulting conception rates at Collinsville currently average 70 per cent, meaning that 30 per c e nt of the ewes undergo the stress of minor surgery to no avail.

Laparoscopy has the advantage of being the only technique to be able to use frozen semen, so that neither ewes nor ram

have to be transported.

7.38 A management difficulty associated with artificial

insemination is the need to synchronise the oestrus period of the ewes, as under normal pastoral conditions the number of ewes in oestrus on any given day is highly variable. The most common

method in current use involves the insertion in the ewes of

intravaginal sponges soaked in progestagen. The sponges are

removed after 12 to 14 days, and the ewes injected with pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin

introduced to the flock at the same time . Fifty-five to 56 days

later, the ewes are in oestrus and ready for insemination.35 The dose of PSMG is varied according to the age and breed of the ewe

and to the season of the year. PSMG is known to cause a decline

in fertility, but this is partly compensated for by a higher

ovulation rate.36

104

7.39 The Committee accepts that artificial insemination is of valuable assistance in the genetic improvement of sheep in

Australia and as such should be encouraged. However, the

Committee would like to see further research into the efficacy of non-invasive techniques using (thawed) frozen semen to keep the stresses associated with the process to a minimum. It would also like to see continued research into methods of synchronising

oestrus.

Embryo transfer

7.40 This method involves the removal of embryos from a

desirable donor ewe their transfer to

recipient ewes. The

technique similar to

after two to six days of development and

the reproductive tracts of synchronised method of transfer uses a laparoscopic

that used in artificial insemination.

General anaesthetic is commonly used for both the collection and transfer of embryos.37 Sometimes the donor ewe is encouraged to superovulate by prior treatment with PSMG. Success rates of from 50 to 70 per cent can be achieved.38

7.41 Compared to artificial insemination, embryo transfer is likely to be more stressful for the ewes concerned. Surgery may cause adhesions of the reproductive tract.39 Apart from its cost, embryo transfer is unlikely to have the same impact as artificial

insemination as fewer than 100 embryos can be transferred from a single ewe in her lifetime and her influence could never match that of a ram which, via artificial insemination, fathered

thousands of offspring.40

7.42 A further refinement of the embryo transfer process is

the recently developed technique of splitting embryos

microsurgically. If the implanted embryo results in a highly

successful animal, its frozen clones will be able to be used to

create identical creatures even well into the future.

105

7.43 Concern was expressed to the Committee by the Australian Veterinary Association that in some States, non-veterinarians were performing such "sophisticated invasive techniques" as laparoscopic insemination and embryo transfer.41 The veterinary

surgeons legislation varies somewhat £rom State to State, but frequently it contains provisions for properly accredited persons who are not veterinarians to perform artificial insemination . Owners, whether competent in the procedures or not, are exempt

from the provisions of the legislation.

7.44 As artificial breeding is becoming more popular, the

Committee believes it is important to ensure that all persons who perform either laparascopic insemination or embryo transfer in sheep are competent in the procedures. It considers that it is

the responsibility of the Veterinary Surgeons' Board in each State to ensure that only properly accredited persons, either veterinarians or technicians with certificates of competency, perform the procedures.

Genetic engineering

7.45 Isolating a gene from one organism and transferring it

to another is known as genetic engineer'ing. The most visually dramatic research to date involves genes coding for growth

factors. "Supermice" have been bred since 1982 by transferring copies of the human growth hormone gene into one-cell mice

embryos. These transgenic mice grow to twice the size of their

normal litter mates, and the changes are passed on to successive generations.42

7.46 Work has been conducted by the CSIRO into the growth

hormone gene in sheep, with the aim of producing larger, faster growing sheep with leaner meat for the prime lamb market. Four transgenic sheep have been bred but none has survived a year and all have had the classical signs of growth hormone toxicity, such

106

as diabetes and swollen joints.43 In the case of sheep, the yield of transgenic sheep born fol l owing micro-injection of foreign DNA is very low. Fewer still of these express the foreign gene,

because the control mechanisms are still not well understood.

7.47 CSIRO researchers are now attempting to transfer into

sheep the bacterial genes which make the enzymes for cysteine synthesis, so that the transgenic sheep could make extra cysteine to increase their wool production significantly.44

7.48 Genetic engineering holds enormous promise as the means of transferring single desirable genes or genetic combinations to Australia's sheep. However, the technology is still in the

experimental phase. Retrieving embryos for manipulation in the laboratory often requires repeated surgery; in many cases the foreign DNA does not "take" or the

researchers cannot readily control gene or how it works.45

embryo fails to develop; and the placing of the foreign

7.49 Most important economic traits in sheep, such as growth

rate, fleece weight and milk production are multigenic and hence present major transfer difficulties. Single gene differences i nclude fecundity, as expressed by the F gene in the Booroola

Merino. This gene appears to operate to increase ovulation rate by reducing the activity of the hormone inhibin, but this effect is difficult to achieve using current genetic engineering

technology.46

7.50 That we cannot predict all the consequences of adding

foreign genes to adult domestic animals was graphically

illustrated by the case of the Beltsville pig. Growth hormone genes introduced to pigs in the United States Department of

Agriculture farm at Beltsville, Maryland in 1986 produced a

severe side effect in the form of crippling arthritis in the one animal which survived to adulthood. 47

10 7

7.51 In their evidence to the Committee, CSIRO researchers

also pointed to the possibilities of using genetic engineering techniques to breed animals with greater inherent resistance to disease.48 While accepting that this is a laudable aim, as is the genetic improvement of the Australian sheep flock, the Committee urges caution with regard to the extent to which genetic

manipulation should be allowed. The Committee supports continued research into genetic manipulation in sheep, provided that it is not detrimental to sheep welfare and provided that all research proposals are s c rutinised attentively by the relevant ethics committees.

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CHAPTER 8

NATURAL DISASTERS

Introduction

8 .1

land scape Droughts, floods irregularly but and fires ravage the Australian

frequently, such that they must be

considered an inevitability for the landowner and be planned for acco rdingly. Some regions are more prone to one of these natural disasters than the others. The eastern tablelands, for example, h ave a one in five chance of a potentially serious fire season

e ach year. Disasters are also frequently interlinked, with major

floo ding often following the breaking of a drought or fire

breaking out early in a drought, when pasture growth or

undergrowth has dried off.

8.2 Given the inevitability of these natural disasters, it

might be assumed that mechanisms for dealing with them and their c onsequences had been perfected over the years. Natural Disaster

Relief Arrangements

transport subsidies may also be available.2 From 1 July 1989, however, drought provisions have been removed from the NDRA

scheme, pending the final representation of the Drought Policy Review Task Force.

8.3 Longer-term preventive measures, such as farm water

supply works, erosion control measures and fodder conservation are also generally supported at State level by low interest loans of around 4.5 per cent, with varying eligibility criteria,

109

repayment terms and required security.3 In New South Wales, for example, farmers of "moderate means" can obtain loans of up to

S3000 at 4.5 per cent for fodder conservation purposes through the Rural Industries Agency of the State Bank, with repayment

terms up to 15 years and on security of the farm mortgage.

8.4 term, is

starving farmers

This support, while valuable to the farmer in the longer rarely of immediate benefit to burnt, stranded or

sheep. The Committee accepts that the majority of

does consider the welfare of stock in such emergencies. It further acknowledges that there may well be, for example,

farmers who are still paying off debts incurred in 1982-83 when they chose to feed their sheep during the drought.4 Nevertheless, the Committee concludes that more can and should be done to

ensure the welfare of sheep before, during and immediately after natural disasters .

Bushfires

8.5 In bad fire seasons, the extent of damage caused to the

Australian environment and to its wildlife, stock animals and humans by bushfires is horrendous. In the 1974-75 fire season, 15.2 per cent of the land area of this continent was burnt,

including over 60 million hectares of pastoral land. The cause, in the majority of cases, was a lightning strike.5 In more recent times, the Ash Wednesday fires in south-eastern Australia in 1983 caused the loss of 71 human lives, the loss of 334 500 sheep6 and

damage estimated at S400 million.?

8.6 There is often insufficient warning of bushfires for

sheep to be moved out of danger, although if that is an option,

it should be taken. Following a fire, burnt stock need to be

inspected as quickly as possible, divided into groups according

110

to the severity of their burns and dealt with appropriately. The State Departments o f Agriculture produce and update guidelines concerning burn injuries and their treatment and may also provide local officers to assess stock.8

8.7 The most severely burnt sheep need to be euthanased

where they lie and their carcasses disposed o f. To spare the

sheep further suffering, this task should be done immediately. An acceptable method of e uthanasia i s a shot to the centre front

or back of the s kull wi th a .22 rifle at close range. In

moderately closely settled areas , sufficient competent volunteers

can generally be found to perform this task promptly. The

Committee is concerned that in the thinly settled pastoral zone, and particularly following an extensive fire, sheep must

frequent ly linger unaided until death supervenes.

8.8 recover Sheep which can still walk but which are unlikely t o

from the ir burns are sometimes transported to an

abattoir. While sympathising with the farmer in his intent to

minimise his losses, the Committee accepts this as an option only if the abattoir is not too distant and can accept the sheep at

once. The Committee notes the advice tended by the Victorian

Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to the effect that abattoir salvage of sheep should occur within 24 hours and

preferably within 12 hours.9 The Committee recommends that more specific guidelines on acceptable parameters for the transport of burnt stock be devised and incorporated in the codes of practice on road transport of livestock.

8.9 Treatment of burnt sheep should be undertaken only if

the sheep have a good chance of recovery and can be adequately

fed and watered until pasture growth resumes. A sheep which is severely burnt through the skin of the legs below the knees or

hock joints is unlikely to survive longer than a couple of weeks and should be humanely slaughtered. Burns to bare-skinned areas other than the legs are more likely to heal and the sheep should

recover with no long-term loss in productivity.

111

8.10 Perhaps the most important issue in post-fire sheep care

is regular, at least daily, surveillance to ensure that all

animals are responding to treatment, and that their weeping

wounds do not become flystruck. If unfamiliar rations need to be provided, all sheep must be watched to ensure that they are

eating. There is some evidence to suggest that it would be

helpful if all sheep were introduced briefly to grain as lambs, as they readily learn to consume grain at a young age and retain

a willingness to accept it when necessary later in life.lO

8.11 A major welfare issue, especially following widespread fires such as those of Ash Wednesday, is the provision of fodder, as reserves in the district may have been destroyed. The

Committee received no evidence to indicate that the co-ordinating arrangements by the State departments of agriculture for

emergency fodder provision were inadequate.

Floods

8.12 Flooding is an irregular but frequent occurrence,

particularly in the eastern States. It may take the form of a

broadscale though shallow inundation of the floodplains of the inland river systems, or flash coastal floods.

8.13 Floods are arguably the least threatening of natural

disasters for sheep welfare. Enough warning of the danger of

flooding is usually given so that sheep can be moved to higher

ground if this is available. However, problems of feeding

isolated stock until the floodwaters recede can be immense and the exercise is inevitably costly. In certain areas, sheep may be marooned for months, during which time they must subsist on

airlifted hay or provisions and medications conveyed by boat. Nevertheless the Committee is of the opinion that if sheep are

raised in an area which is prone to flooding, adequate provision must be made for them during and following floods.

112

8.14 No cases of cruelty to, or neglect o f,

f l ood-bound sheep were presented to the Committee. However, it

is certain that many sheep die in floods and it seems probable

that many others suffer partially avoidable food deprivation and disease following floods. The Committee stresses the

responsibilities of owners to ensure that, as the Victorian code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of sheep recommends, "reasonable steps should be taken f or stock to be attended to

promptly after either fire or flood".11 Given the variety of

flood situations, it is hard to be more precise than this.

8.15 Flood relief finance is provided through the States to

landowners under similar terms and conditions to bushfire relief .

Drought

8.16 Drought is, and will in all probability continue to be,

a prominent feature of Australian life . Since the 1860s there

have been nine major droughts and six other droughts of a lesser degree of intensity, but nevertheless causing appreciable losses in large areas of several States.12 There are rarely any periods in which some part of Australia, however small, is not

drought-declared.

8.17 There are significant problems associated with

objectively defining drought, establishing criteria for its onset and declaring it ended, none of which is within the Committee's remit to consider. However, the ramifications of drought

declaration are of particular importance for the sheep producer, for until an area is drought-declared by the local Pastures

Protection Board in New South Wales or its equivalent in the

other States, financial assistance in the form of water cartage or fodder subsidies is unavailable. Until that assistance is

forthcoming, some producers seem to be unable or unwilling to feed or water their stock adequately.

113

8.18 Producers' obligations to their sheep are spelt out in

the Victorian Government's 1982 code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of sheep and reiterated in the national draft

model code of practice being developed by the Sub-committee on Animal Welfare of the Standing Committee on Agriculture. The Victorian code states unequivocally "Sheep should not be allowed to starve to death" and "Sheep should not be allowed to die of

thirst".

8.19 While such provisions might appear self-evident and even superfluous to the majority of sheep farmers, the need for them was amply demonstrated during the 1982-83 drought. ANZFAS has calculated that, on the basis of available figures from the

Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, 769 000 sheep deaths were recorded in Victoria between September and March.13 Dr Harrison, a Principal Veterinary Officer with the Department, indicated that Departmental officers had to shoot 160 000

unwanted and unsaleable sheep during 1982-83 rather than allow them to continue suffering.14 Dr Harrison further pointed out that the majority of prosecutions launched by the Department concerning the maltreatment of sheep was on the grounds of

failure to feed correctly in a drought situation.15

8.20 The Committee accepts that in most cases, sheep owners

are not guilty of wilful acts of cruelty towards their animals in a drought. Owners are themselves the victims of the drought, as Dr Meischke pointed out.16 They may well be put in the invidious position of not being able to buy feed because it is unavailable. Further, when they make the decision to sell their stock, there is no guarantee that even many trips to the saleyard will ensure a buyer, or that the local abattoir will be able to cope with the

supply.

8.21 Droughts are relatively unpredictable phenomena,

although the Bureau of Meteorology is engaged in international data exchange with the World Climate Programme in the hopes of being able to assess the likelihood of major anomalies in

114

rainfall pattern s over Austra l ia we ll in advance .1 7 li o weve r, d e

Professor Egan o f the Universi t y of Me l bourne's Department o f

Agr i c ulture pointed out, whe n a fa rmer mates his animals , he is

comm i t t ed t o "an entr ained programme of events progressing i nto

an unpredictable f u ture environment '' .18 Wh e n feed deficiencies then occu r , decisions have to be made about taking actions which are not routine . Th e heart of t he we l fare issue then becomes t he

t ime l i n ess o f t h e decisions.

positi o n a s f ol l ows :

Professor Egan summed up the

8 . 2 2

While mo s t fa r mers act in t ime to take

reaso n a ble action, t hey differ in their

optimism, in their knowl edge o f t he costs and

b e n e fits o f the optio n s availa ble a nd in their

ability t o make the committing decisions . l9

Othe r witnesses we r e mo r e critical of t he actions or

inaction o f s h e ep o wn e r s during dro ught periods.

outlined the following s cen a rio :

Mrs Town end

During times of drought the televisio n s creen shows the d o g ged farmer d o ing the r o unds wi t h

the rifle, and placing a bullet through the

skull of his emaciated animals. The di s tresse d v iewer is led to b e liev e that this unavoidab l e suffering is a natural result o f the clima t e

and there is no other way of dealing with

droughts. Unfortunately there are two

fallacies about the myth of the s hooting

farmer. The first is that he ... may we ll not

shoot his animals, but allow them t o liv e a s

long as possible in the hope that rain will

come. The second fallacy is that drought mu s t bring starvation o f sto ck. Go o d farme rs b e gin to sell animals wh e n the y know tha t the y c an

no longer feed them properly. They d o n o t

overstock in the goo d years, and e n s ure

thereby that their property has maximum feed to carry them through the bad times.20

Mrs Townend further reported cas es in which sheep we re reputedly

bought for next to nothing in drought sales and "put o ut into the

bush somewhere" with no c are or attention, in the hopes that some wo uld surv ive and be pro fitable for the speculative buyer.21

115

8.23 The Committee was unable to determine if such

reprehensible conduct occurred/ and if S0 1 with what frequency. The Committee believes that the wilful negl ect of the nutritional needs of sheep is rare 1 but when it occurs 1 t he provisions of

State prevention of sufficient to deal cruelty to animals laws are theoretically with the owner. As far as the unfortunate

animals are concerned 1 the Committee considers tha t the most

promising approach is the education of the farming community as to its responsibilities t o report cases of neglect to the

relevant authorities/ if informal approaches to their neglectful colleague bear no result .

8.24 A number of acceptable welfare options are open t o a

sheep farmer in a drought 1 some of which were outlined by Mrs

Town end above. Stock may be sold, fed or agisted. In welfare

terms, feeding is probably the number one choice. It may consist of protein or energy supplements to available pasture 1 such as urea 1 grain or hay; or it may consist of complete survival

feeding. Advice is readily a vailable from veterinarians, State departments of agriculture and other extension services on

bodyweight at which survival feeding should begin 1 quantities of food which should be provided and the economics of feeding. The New South Wales Department,

should commence when weights sheep, 40 kg for large-framed Merinos.22

for example, suggests that feeding fall to 45 kg for British breed

Merinos and 35 kg for small-framed

8.25 If prolonged feeding of stock is uneconomic, or if feed

is not readily available, agistment may be an option for the

sheep producer. In welfare terms, this has the disadvantage of involving sheep in lengthy road or rail transport. Also not all sheep adapt well to different terrain, feed and water. On the

positive side, the sheep can generally continue producing at a reasonable level and breeding programmes can continue. In a

widespread drought, however, agistment is unlikely to be

except at a considerable distance and even with 50 per

cent transport subsidies may be uneconomic.

116

8.26 A third option in a drought is the sale of part or all

of the stock. To avoid the pitiable spectacle of emaciated sheep being dragged from one saleyard to the next, the decision to sell should be made before the sheep are in really poor condition.

The Committee recommends that guidelines be established by the State departments of agriculture concerning the bodyweight and/or condition score below which the different breeds of sheep should not be permitted to be sold in saleyards. Sale by computer-aided

systems such as CALM would still be an option for those sheep,

but would spare them the stresses of transport and saleyard.

8.27 Current governmental provisions for drought relief were criticised by many of the witnesses who appeared before the

Committee. AFWA suggested that fodder subsidies in fact rewarded the were improvident and that

disadvantaged.23 Dr farmers who put away fodder reserves Meischke pointed out that fodder

subsidies who had

in effect advantaged those who had fodder, not those stock.24 Dr Barton, President of the Australian

Veterinary Association, commented on the problem of farmers who overstocked in the expectation of being "bailed out" by subsidies in a drought situation.25

8.28 Whether sheep producers should conserve fodder or

conserve cash was questioned by Mr Bowman, representing the Wool Council of Australia. He pointed out that no farmer could have

been expected to provide the fodder requirements needed during the 1982-83 drought and that even if it had been attempted, the

fodder would have deteriorated.26 Mr Bowman concluded that

incentives to preserve cash were preferable, combined with an assurance from the Australian Wheat Board that it keep

contingency stock on hand at all times to cover expected

requirements during drought. The Wheat Board has no formal brief to do this, but apparently there is an unwritten understanding that it does so.

117

8 .29

Income

Incentives to preserve cas h exist in the form of t he

Equalisation Depos its

farme rs to build up cash reserves by putting aside money in good years for use in bad years, thus reducing income fluctuations .

The scheme lost favour s ome what after 1983, when i t s

tax- deductibility provisions were r e moved. The Federal Gove r nment accepts that some incentive is justified to encourage farme rs t o provide for income fluctuati ons. It therefore pro p o s es to

i ntroduce a tax- linked lED Scheme for primary producers from 1 July 1989, in which deposits will be tax deductible in the year

of deposit and assessable in t h e year o f withdrawal and interest will be paid at the appropriate Go vernme nt bond rate.27

8 . 30 The Committee acce pts that drought relief is a most

difficult issue, given the problems of resolving the c ompe ting and at times conflicting requirements of industry survival, stock survival and producer survival. Nevertheless, the Committee h o lds that the stock should not perpetually come out second or third best.

8.31 The problem of the timing of drought declarations should not be underestimated. Pockets of drought can exist i n

non-declared areas and vice versa. Climatic drought and

agricultural drought may or may not coincide. The Committee

understands that the bulk of research into drought declaration and the use of drought relief provisions has been done on New

South Wales data. Hence it will consider the findings of that

research on the assumption that it is not atypical of the

situation in Australia generally.

8.32 In New South Wales, a Pasture Protection District can

request to be drought-declared, but this request must b e

independently recommended by a veterinary inspector of the Board or a Regional Director of Veterinary Services of the De partment

118

of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the final decision rests with the Ministe r f o r Agriculture. For a district t o be

d r o ught-declared, 50 per cent of it must be drought-affected, as

determine d by the need for survival feeding of stock . 28

8.33 In practice, for the period b e tween 1957 and 19 8 1, the

p r obability o f a given Ne w South Wales district b e ing

d r ought-dec l a r e d in any give n month wa s 20 per cent, and o ne

district wa s drought- d eclared f o r 44 per cent of the time . Su c h

high frequ e n c ies are clearly inco nsistent with the n orma l

definitio n o f a natural disaster and many such droughts sho uld be considere d a s f o rming an inte gral part of farm management.29

8 .34 Disaster relief payments have bee n shared equally by

St ates and the Commonwe alth up to 0 . 225 per cent of each State 's

a nnual r e v e nue, thereaft e r the Commonwealth contributes 75 p e r cent.30 In the case of particularly severe disasters, t he

Commonwealth has provided additional financial aid, as in the

c a se of t h e Dr o u g ht Reli e f ( Primary Producer s ) A c t

ext e nded subsidies for the cost of purchasi ng

p r oducers in drought-declared areas.

1 9 8 2, wh ich

fodder f or

8. 35 Drought relief assistance has been routinely available

• t o primary producers in the form of concessional loans for

carry-on, restocking and repair purposes; 50 per cent freight r e bates on the transport of fodder or stock; and assistance to

St ate and local authorities for the disposal of helpless or

u nsaleable stock, and assistance with water provision.31

8.36 An analysis of the drought relief subsidies for 1972-73

(a year of widespread drought) for New South Wales revealed that the average payment was $203. Total payments amounted to $305 566 for 1508 claims from 1092 producers. Individual claims ranged f rom a high of S3375 to a low of S1. Eighty-four per cent of

claims were for transport subsidies. The number of producers who l odged claims for subsidies was only a small proportion of those farming in drought-declared areas.32

119

8.37 A further analysis of drought relief payments in five

New South Wales districts over the years 1976-87 showed that the

average payment amounted to $551. Over 80 per cent were f or

transportation of stock or fodder. Fifty-eight per cent of

individual c laims were for less than $500, and again, only about 20 per cent of individual producers in drought-declared districts

claimed relief.33

8 . 38 The c onclusio n which must be drawn from the above

studies is that efficient farm managers operating in appropriate areas do not need and do not apply for drought relief subsidies. Any sheep producer wh o se viability depends on a $500 subsidy

should clearly not be in the business of raising sheep and should not be supported by the Australian taxpayer to do so . The

inequity of a situation in which financial support is available for the improvident is untenable.

8.39 The Committee learnt anecdotally of instances of abuse

of drought relief assistance, but received no firm evidence that it occurs, and if so, with what frequency. The Committee notes, however, that overall drought relief subsidies are not high, so that abuse of the scheme, if it does occur, must do so on a

relatively small scale.

8.40 The Committee is aware of the at times conflicting needs

of soil conservation authorities and primary producers. At the onset of a drought, the former would like to see all stock

agisted elsewhere to limit the extent of soil degradation43 yet the latter may not be convinced of the need for urgent action,

particularly if the timing coincides with shearing or lambing.

8.41 In considering the question of drought relief, the

Committee feels it lacks the hard evidence necessary to make

recommendations which go well beyond the specific ambit of sheep welfare. The Committee nevertheless believes that in the

120

long-term interest of sheep welfare, there is no place for

marginal producers in the more arid areas, and the removal of

drought relief subsidies might be one way of achieving this.

8 .42 The Committee puts forward the following suggestions to

the Drought Policy Review Task Force, which is currently

investigating alternative arrangements relating to the future involvement of the Commonwealth in providing assistance for drought:

8.43

no drought relief subsidies should be

available until drought conditions have

persisted for longer than six months.

the monies employment prevention ensure that

affected; permitted.

thus saved be put towards the

of more inspectors under the

of cruelty to animals acts, to

no sheep are being adversely that overstocking is not

no drought relief subsidies should be

available in areas drought-declared more than 25 per cent of the time over the last

ten years.

The Australian Soil Conservation Council has recommended that optimum stock-carrying capacities should be determined for each region35 and the information disseminated by the State agricultural authorities. The Committee considers this

recommendation has some merit and believes that any producer who exceeded those optimum capacities should then be ineligible for drought relief subsidies or concessional loans.

121

8 .44 The Committee recommends that joint guidelines be

devised by the Australian Soil Conservation Council , the State of agriculture and forestry and the National Farmers

on conse rvation farming techniques which would benefit

b 0 t h sheep and the e nvironment.

122

CHAPTER 9

REGULATION

Introduction

9.1 Responsibility for good sheep husbandry rests largely

with the producers and the industry. The welfare of the sheep is in their hands. It is their investment which is at risk if

production is reduced through undue stress being placed on the sheep through neglect or abuse. However, they also have a moral responsibility and a legal obligation to maintain proper care of their animals.

9.2 point people sources

Evidence received by the Committee was unanimous on the that the majority of sheep producers are responsible

who do not maltreat their animals. Although industry

could be expected to take this line, and did,1 groups

with no vested interest supported them. Dr Brennan, representing the RSPCA

9.3 In good times, there is probably little neglect or abuse

of sheep by producers; it would only impact on production.

However , in a drought or in the aftermath of bushfires or floods, welfare may be at odds with economics. As discussed in Chapter 8, some producers have delayed taking action in the hope of

improvements in the weather or in their circumstances and thereby causing increased distress to sheep already in a poor condition.

123

9.4 The Committee's concern is twofold: firstly, to ensure

tha t the ground rules for good sheep husbandry are precisely a nd unambiguously laid d own so that everyone understands the

framework within which they are operating; and secondly, to

ensure that incidences of malpractice are dealt with as swiftly as possible to protect the animals in question from further

suffering, and to deter further neglect or abuse.

9.5 In this

whic h operate in

sheep.

chapter, the Committee examines the controls the industry to prevent abuse or neglect of

The present regulatory situation

9.6 All Australian States and Territories have legislation

for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Although legislation varies in detail, penalties and enforcement provisions among the States and Territories, it outlines to some extent the type of

conduct towards animals that is generally regarded as

unacceptable, namely ill-treatment, failure to feed, water or shelter adequately, abandonment, needless mutilation and so forth. The acts, or their regulations, specifically exclude from their provisions surgical operations on livestock such as tail docking and castration.

9.7 The State and Territory legislation provide for

inspectors who are usually specified RSPCA or other animal

welfare personnel or departmental officers. The inspectors

normally conduct investigations following complaints about offences which have allegedly been committed under the

legislation. Most inspectors are based in the capital cities and consequently most investigations are carried out in or around those cities. The RSPCAs and other specified non-government organisations do not have the resources to appoint mo r e

inspectors to carry out inspections more widely in country areas .

124

9.8 In Queensland, for example, the RSPCA in 1983-84 had

f o ur inspectors to cove r most of the State. Sometime s, the RSPCA asked the police in country fi nd out whether the case

the town.3

towns to make initial inquiries to warranted an inspector travelling to

9 .9 Inspectors usually try to solve problems through advice

o r persuasion rather than by taking legal action. Prosecuting people can be time-consuming and expensive. In Victoria, for

example, in 1987-88, of 419 cases involving shee p which were

investigated by RSPCA inspectors, only 23 needed to be

prosecuted . 4 The intervention of the inspectors was generally sufficient to obtain the requisite remedial action in the other instances of neglect.

9.10 Sometimes, attempts to resolve a problem by negotiation

go on for too long to the detriment of the animal. In the case

described in paragraph 6.3 above, the sheep which had not been shorn for four years were in a terrible state when they were

e ventually confiscated by the RSPCA. Many attempts by various people and organisations to persuade the owner to shear the sheep were to no avail.

9.11 When cases have been taken to court, and convictions

recorded, the penalties imposed do not always reflect the gravity of the offence. A Tasmanian case of failure to treat flystruck

sheep, which resulted in the deaths of 20 of them, attracted a

S50 fine for cruelty and a S25 fine for failure to remove

c arcasses.5

9.12 The RSPCAs take action on the receipt of complaints. If

there are no complaints, then there are no inquiries. Most cases of neglect or abuse of sheep only come to the attention of

neighbours or other people working in the area. As there is a

reluctance within the rural community to inform on members of that community, it is difficult for cases of neglect or abuse of sheep to come to the notice of the authorities.

125

9.13 Given the difficulties in detecting neglect or abuse and

in getting action to resolve it, the Committee believes that

every effort should be made to try to prevent neglect or abuse of sheep in the first place. The industry has an important role to

play through dissemination of information and in encouraging producers to care for their sheep at all times. The industry must be pro-active in its approach to the development of good animal husbandry practices. If innovative methods of sheep production evolve from research, methods which benefit both sheep and

producer, they must be embraced and be seen to be willingly

embraced by a forward-looking, caring industry. If, on the other hand, research findings are not presented to producers, or are not acted upon, the industry will stand condemned in the eyes of a public which has become more alerted to welfare issues in

recent times. If the sheep and wool industry fails to present a

humane face to its consumers, it may be faced with a boycott of

its products.

9.14 Developments elsewhere in the world may provide useful

pointers to what can be done to show concern for animal welfare issues. To maintain the reputation of its industry, the Iowa

Cattlemen's Association has issued a public statement to the effect that any cattle producer in the State who finds himself

unable to care for his animals, for whatever reason, can contact the Association, which will assist in agisting the stock or

selling them.6 The sheep industry in Australia should think about the adoption of a similar policy.

Codes of Practice

9.15 The development of codes of practice for animal

husbandry has been underway in Australia over the last decade. Victoria developed a code of accepted farming practice for the welfare of sheep in 1982. Dr Crossing of the Victorian Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs described its evolution to the Committee, through consultations with animal welfare and industry

126

interests and public comment. In Victoria, following ministerial approval of a code of practice, it has to lie on the tables of

both Houses of Parliament for 14 sitting days before it is

gazetted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act . The

code's status was outlined by Dr Crossing as follows:

9. 16

the code ... is a standard .... It can be

used by a person in his defence against a

charge of cruelty. If a person is operating in accordance with this code of practice he is

exempted from legal action under the

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. So what this code of practice does is to encourage

people . . . to adopt animal husbandry practices that are specified in the code.?

A national draft model code of practice for the welfare of sheep is still being revised by the Sub-committee on Animal Welfare of the Animal Health Committee of the Australian

Agricultural Council.

Rationale behind codes of practice

' 9. 17 The development of codes of practice has come about not

to resolve specific welfare issues, but to "provide an expression of an acceptable level of husbandry and so establish a basis for further legislative, educative or extension activity".B Codes of practice provide the benchmark against which an individual's

treatment of his sheep can be measured; a guide to the state of

the science of sheep husbandry.

9.18 Codes of practice work on the

preferable to encourage, rather than assumption that it is

to mandate, considerate

treatment of animals. To their supporters, codes of practice

which encourage voluntary compliance with their provisions are preferable to "eternal litigation".9

127

9.19 A number of witnesses stressed that part of the value of

the codes lay in the process of consultation among the interested parties during their development.lO The detailed discussion of issues amongst industry, welfare and research groups,

veterinarians and departmental officers helps reach a consensus in the codes, without which their acceptance by the farming

community would be in jeopardy.

9.20 flexible Codes of practice, guidelines which

as opposed to legislation, provide allow for changes broy ght about by

technological developments.

Limitations of codes of practice

9.21 Codes of practice have been criticised as being

"motherhood statements", merely representing the lowest common denominator of acceptable practice, and as such, irrelevant for the vast majority of producers who more than comply with the

standards.11

9.22 Further, concern has been expressed that codes of

practice can never be highly specific or relevant to all the

differing husbandry situations which occur throughout Australia.

9.23 The difficulty of enforcing the provisions of codes of

practice was noted by many welfare groups12 and the question then arose as to whether they should be incorporated in legislation or be attached to legislation as regulations or annexes.

Increased monitoring

9.24 Self-regulation alone has been insufficient to eliminate sheep welfare problems in the past. Although it is an important first step, it must be supplemented, in the view of the

Committee, by regular external monitoring. The persons with

128

inspectorial powers under the prevention of cruelty to animals legislation , generally RSPCA inspectors, can act only on a

complaint. Further, they are few in number and primarily based in urban areas.

9.25 RSPCA officers r eport that in the majority of sheep

cruelty cases which they investigate; r e media l action is taken by the producer without the need for the RSPCA to prosecute. This is obviously the preferred way to deal with the situation. Were

there to be more inspectors, it would seem like ly that they could forestall more cases of either inadvertent or deliberate cruelty or neglect more quickly, particularly if they had the active

co-operation o f Sta t e department of agriculture officers and

local sheep producers.

9.26 The Committee recommends that State and Territory

Governments increase the number of RSPCA inspectors authorised under the relevant State prevention of cruelty to animals

legislation and provide additional funding to support them.

9.27 Cases of blatant cruelty to animals are covered under

existing prevention o f cruelty legislation. There are other

cases, however, where unnecessary suffering by sheep has

occurred, and where the owners have ignored advice or requests by author ities. In some of these cases, proving cruelty under

existing legislation has been difficult. Prevention of cruelty to animals legislation has been revamped in recent years in New

South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. In Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, legislation is in the process of being updated. The Committee believes that the States and

Territories which do not have revised prevention of cruelty

legislation should in fact carry out a revision. This matter is dealt with in more depth in the Committee's report on animal

experimentation.

129

9.28 The Committee believes that State and Territory

Governments should include in or attach to regulations a code of practice for sheep husbandry which sets standards against which cases brought to court for neglect or abuse under the legislation may be judged. In other words, a breach of the code of practice

cannot be used to launch a prosecution, but when a prosecution is launched under the provisions of the Act itself, the code of

practice becomes the standard to assist in determining whether a breach of the Act has occurred. The Committee emphasises that it sees legal action as the last resort except where blatant cruelty has occurred.

9.29 The inclusion of a code of practice for sheep husbandry

in regulations as in Victoria is also a protection for the

grazier. The grazier just has to show that he is complying with

the code of practice to be successful in defending a case brought against him. As the RSPCA or other body bringing an action

against a

unsuccessful grazier is responsible for its legal costs in

cases, it has to be careful as to which cases it

proceeds with legal action. It would be rare for the

other body with statutory responsibilities to

prosecution without a strong case.

130

RSPCA or

launch a

CHAPTER 10

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

10.1 The Committee has drawn various conclusions in this

report and has made a number of pronounce ments, some in the form of recommendations and others as statements of policy . In many ca s e s, the Committee did not make recommendations because it was inappropriate to do so. Where the Committee makes a statement

rather than a recommendation, it is often not meant to be of less importance.

1 0. 2 A number of issues were raised i n the inquiry which were

regarded by some people as being inimical to good husbandry

p r actice or resulted in sheep undergoing undue stress. The

Committee

e thical

discussed these and scientific

issues, taking factors, and

into account both

examined possible

a lternatives. The Committee does not, however, provide a panacea

for all the unpleasant husbandry procedures and practices in the s h e ep industry. In many cases, there are no satisfactory

alternatives to current procedures and practices. If there were, some of those procedures would not have been condoned.

10.3 The Committee noted the research being done in many

a r eas of sheep husbandry, particularly research examining

alternatives to some of the more stressful procedures or

problems. The Committee supported this research and recommended additional research in some areas. Once alternatives have been found and proven, it will be incumbent on the industry to ensure quick and widespread use of them.

13 1

10.4 There are some

undertake now to improve

discussed in the report.

practices welfare. which sheep These are

producers can identified and

10.5 The recommendations made by the Committee in the body of

the report are listed below.

10.6 The Committee recommends that the industry, together

with the State departments of agriculture, develop lamb loss parameters for the common breeds in each district as a minimum target at which producers should aim.

lb.7 The Committee further recommends that research continue into the comparative efficacy of the various forms of shelter on a regional basis and that the results be promptly disseminated

through all appropriate media outlets.

10.8 The Committee recommends that more research into the

cost-benefits of using ultrasound imaging on ewes in early

pregnancy be conducted. (Paragraph 3.3)

10.9 The Committee recommends that research be continued into the mothering ability of Merino ewes in particular, so that

multiple birth lambs, whether the result of fecundity treatment or not, may enjoy a better chance of survival. (Paragraph 3.36>

10.10 The Committee further recommends that funding for the

development and improvement of existing fecundity vaccines be tied to a requireme nt also to investigate methods of enhancing lamb survival.

10.11 The Committee recommends that no sheep have its tail

completely removed. (Paragraph 3.46>

10.12 The Committee recommends continued research into

immunocastration.

13 2

10.13 The Committee recommends continued research into

flystrike resistance methods designed to

characteristics, as one of

reduce the suffering caused a range of

by flystrike.

10.14 The Committee recommends continued research into all

means of preventing blowfly strike , so that the need for mulesing is removed. (Paragraph 4.66>

10.15 In line with its "broad brush" approach to flystrike

prevention, the Committee recommends the continuation of research into immunological approaches to flystrike prevention. (Paragraph 4.83)

10.16 The Committee recommends that research be continued into alternatives to conventional shearing, and particularly into the sheep welfare aspects of all alternative methods of wool

harvesting. As an interim measure, pending the likely future

introduction of alternative methods of wool harvesting, the Committee recommends that research be continued into improvements to manual shearing.

10.17 The Committee recommends that more specific guidelines on acceptable parameters for the transport of burnt stock be

devised and incorporated in the codes of practice on road

transport of livestock.

10. 18 The Committee recommends that guidelines be established by the State departments of agriculture concerning the bodyweight and/or condition score below which the different breeds of sheep should not be permitted to be sold in saleyards.

10.19 The Committee recommends that joint guidelines be

devised by the Australian Soil Conservation Council, the State departments of agriculture and forestry and the National Farmers Federation on conservation farming techniques which would benefit both sheep and the environment.

133

10.20 The Committee recommends that State and Territory

governments increase the number of RSPCA inspectors authorised under the relevant State prevention of cruelty to animals

legislation and provide additional funding to support them .

(Paragraph 9.26)

134

Senator A.R. Devlin Chairman

ENDNOTES

Chapter 1

1. K.J. Bell, Anim.1 l Welfare Aspects of Australian Sh e ep Husbandry Practice s , , Sydney, 1987, p. 6.

2. See , for example , Evidence, Mr G.A. Miller, p. 8336.

3 . Evidence, RSPCA (Australia>, pp. S7463-4.

4 . Be 11 , p . 4 .

5 . Be 11 , p . 5 .

6 . Be 11 , p . 8 .

7. See, for example, L.R. Fell and D.A. Shutt, 'Salivary

cortisol and behavioural indicators of stress in sheep', Proceedings o f th e Australian Society of Animal Production, vol. 17, 1988, p. 186.

8 . M. Stamp Dawkins, Anima l Suffer in g: the Sc ien ce of An imal

Welfare, Chapman and Hall, London, 1980 , p. 37 .

9. Bell, p. 9.

10. This point was explored by the Brambell report: F.W.R. Brambell

12. M.A. Rose, Opening address, presented to the AWAC Search Conference on the Commercial Care and Management of Sheep, August 1987, p. 3.

13. Australian Wool Corporation, Annual Report 1987!1988, AWC, Melbourne, 1988, p. 7.

14. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Yearbook 1988 , ABS, Canberra, 1988, p. 533.

15. Australian Meat and Live-Stock Corporation, Annual Report July 87- June 88, AMLC, Sydney, 1988, p. 13.

16. Australian Meat and Live-Stock Corporation, p. 23. 17. Australian Wool Corporation, p. 32.

18. Australian Wool Corporation, p. 7.

135

19. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Apparent Cons umpt ion of Foods tuff s and Nutrients, Australia, Cat.no. 4306.0, ABS, Canberra, 1988.

20. Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare, Export of Live Sheep from Australia, AGPS, Canberra, 1985, p. 126.

21 . R.G. Beilharz, 'Science and the Politics of Animal Use in Food Production: the Situation i n Australia', Appli e d Animal Behaviour Sc ie nce , val. 20, 1988, p. 145.

23. For example, Evidence, RSPCA

24. The Han. J. Kerin, Opening addres s, World Sheep and Wool Congress, Hobart, 1 March 1989, p. 3.

24. Australian Wool Corporation, p . 105.

25. Kerin, p. 3.

26. Kilgour, p. 35.

Chapter 2

1. Australian Agricultural Council, Sub-committee on Animal Welfare, Draf t Model Code of Practic e for the We lfar e of

Sheep, SCAW, Canberra, 1989, pp. 1-2 .

2. For example, Evidence,, Dr H.G. Osborne, p. 8145.

3. G. Alexander and O.B . Williams, eds, The Pastoral Industrie s of Australia, rev. ed., Sydney University Press, Sydney, 1986, p. 168.

4. D.H. White and P.J. Bowman, Dry sheep e qui va lents for

comparing different classes of stock, Agnate 430/16, Department of Agriculture, Melbourne, 1985, p. 1 .

5. White and Bowman, p. 1.

6. I. Caple, Nutritional dis ease s of sheep, Agnate 430 / 653,

Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Melbourne, 1984, p. 1.

7. Evidence, Dr T.W. Scott, p. 8137.

8. Caple, p. 2.

9. Alexander and Williams, p. 296.

10 . Evidence , Dr T.W. Scott, pp. 8137-8.

11. Australian Agricultural Council, p. 2.

136

12. Alexander and Williams, pp. 308-9.

1 3 . Australian Agricultural Council, p. 3.

14 . Alexander and Williams, p. 308.

1 5. Alexander and Williams, p. 309.

16 . K. Love, Wa ter s upplies for sh e ep, Agnate 430 / 58,

Department of Agriculture, Melbourne, 1983, p. 3.

1 7 . Evid e nce , Mr G.A. Miller, p. 8337.

18 . Love, p. 3.

1 9. Evidence, Mr G.A. Miller, pp. 8340-3.

20. Evidence, Mr G.A. Miller, pp. 8345-6.

21. Alexander and Williams, p. 94

2 2. Evidence , Dr R.J. Crossing, p. 8276.

2 3. K.J. Bell, Animal Welfare Aspects of Australian Sheep Husbandry Practice, Australian Wool Corporation, Melbourne, 1987, p. 67.

24. I. Simpson and P. Holst, Sheep reproduction - selecting lambing paddocks, Agfact A3.4.7, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1987, p. 3.

25. Simpson and Holst, p. 3.

26. Bell, p. 67.

2 7 • Be 11, p . 6 8 •

28. Alexander and Williams, p. 289.

29. Alexander and Williams, pp. 291-2.

3 0 • Be 11, p . 6 8 .

31. Evidence, ANZFAS, p. S7391.

32. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Agricultural Section, (unpublished l .

33. Evidence, Dr G. Alexander, p. 8186.

34. See, for example, Bell, p. 69; Evidence, Mrs C.E.

Townend, p. S7440.

35. Evidence, Mrs C. E . Townend, p. S7440.

137

36. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Selected Agricultural Commodities, Austr,1fia, 1987-88, Preliminary, ABS, Canberra, 1988, p. 9.

37. R.S. Marchant, Factors affecting lamb survival , Agfact A3.4.3, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1985, p. 3.

38. Bell, p. 69.

39. See, for example, Bell, p. 69; Evidence, Dr J.Z. Foot,

p. 8286.

40. Simpson and Holst, p. 2.

41. Evidence, Dr J.Z. Foot, p. 8287.

42. Marchant, p. 3.

43. Evidence, Dr J.Z. Foot, p. 8287.

44. N. Thorpe, 'Trees Essential Part of Agricultural Management ' , Australian Forest Grower, September 1987, p. 10.

45. Evidence, Mr A. Bowman, p. 5767.

46. Evidence, Mr H.S. Beggs, p. 5768.

47. Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories, National Tree Program Progress Report 1982-1987, AGPS, Canberra, 1988, p. 1.

48. Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories, p. 15. 49. Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories, pp. 22-3. SO. Tree Farmer, no. 3, 1984, p. 107.

Chapter 3

l. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Selected Agricultural Commodities, Australia, 1987-88, Preliminary, Cat. no. 7112.0, 1988, p. 9.

2. G. Alexander and O.B. Williams, eds, The Pastoral Industrie s of Australia, rev. ed., Sydney University Press, Sydney, 1986, p. 64.

3. Alexander and Williams, p. 91.

4. I. Simpson and P. Holst, Sheep reproduction -selecting lambing paddocks, Agfact A3.4.7, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1987, p. 3.

138

5. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8081.

6. R.S. Marchant, Factors affecting lamb survival, Agfact A3.4.3, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1985, p. 3.

7. Marchant, p. 3.

8. Ev i d c n c e, Mrs C. E. Town end, p. 8 3 6 6.

9. Evidence, Mr A.H. BO'A'Tilan, p. 8417.

10. Evidence, ANZFAS, pp. S7401-2.

11. Evidence, Dr R.G. Brennan, p. 8378.

12. Evidence, Mr G.A. Miller, p. 8336.

13. C. Townend, Pulling the Wool, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1985, pp. 37-8.

14. Alexander and Williams, p. 62.

15. Evidence, Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, p. S7792.

16. Townend, p. 36.

17. Evidence, RSPCA , p. S7457.

18. Australian Bureau of Statistics, cat. no. 7112, p. 9.

19. Evidence, RSPCA

20. Evidence, Mrs C.E. Townend, S7444.

21. Marchant, p. 1.

22. K.J. Bell, Animal Welfare Aspects of Australian Sheep Husbandry Practice, Australian Wool Corporation, Melbourne, 1987, p. 72.

23. Evidence, ANZFAS, S7400.

24. For example, Evidence, Dr J.Z. Foot, p. 8287, Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8080, Evidence, ANZFAS, p. 87400.

25. For example, Marchant, p. 2.; F. Brien, Management of lambing ewes, Agnate 430/22, Department of Agriculture, Melbourne, 1985, p. 1.

26. Bell, p. 73.

27. Simpson and Holst, p. 2.

139

28. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8080.

2 9 . Be 11, p . 2 9 .

30. Marchant, p. 2.

31. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8082.

32. See, for example, Bell, p. 72.

33. Evidence, Dr T.W. Scott, p. 8126.

34. Evidence, Dr G. Alexander, p. 8185.

35. Evidence , Mr J.A. Butt, p. 8102 .

36 . Evidence, Mr J.W. Plant, p. 8185.

37. Evidence, Pastoralists and Graziers Association of Western Australia (Inc.), p. S5778; Evidence , NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, p. S7308.

38. Bell, p. 54; G. Woods and W. Johnson, Lamb marking, Agfact A3.2.5, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1988, p. 5.

39. Evidence, ANZFAS, Livestock Mutilations, p. 4.

40. Evidence , Mr L.J.B. Binns, p. 8237.

41. Bell, pp. 58-9.

42. Sinclair et al., quoted in Bell, p. 57.

43. Buckman, quoted in Bell, p. 58.

44. Woods and Johnson, p. 5.

45. D.A. Shutt, L.R. Fell, R. Connell and A . K. Bell, 'Stress

Responses in Lambs Docked and Castrated Surgically or by the Application of Rubber Rings' 1 Australian Veterinary Journal vol. 65, 1988, p. 5.

46. Woods and Johnson, p. 5.

47. Woods and Johnson, p. 5.

48. Shutt et al., p. 7.

49 . Shutt et al., p. 7.

50. Evidence, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, S7312.

51. Evidence, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, S7316.

140

52. Ev id e n ce, NSW Agriculture and Fishe rie s, S7313.

5 3 . Be 11, p . 111 .

54. D. Lear and I. Thomas, Lamb m ar kin g , Agnate 430/ 2 6,

De p a rtme n t of Agriculture , Me lbourne, 1985, p. 2 .

5 5 . E 1' i d c n c c , AN Z F AS , L i v c s t o c k M u t i I a t i o n s , p . 3 .

56. Shutt e t al., p. 6 .

5 7. Shutt e t al., p . 7.

58. Ev i de n ce, Dr M.D. Ba rton, p. 8 157.

59 . Evid e n ce, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, p. S7314.

60. E vid e n ce, Dr R. Meisc hke, p. 8 231 .

6 1 . CSIRO Division of Animal Production, P e r s pe c t ives , CSIRO, Sydney, 1988, p. 8 .

62. Ev i de n ce, Dr L.J. Denholm, p . 8283.

63 . E vi d e n ce, Professor A.R . Egan, p. 8309.

64. Ev id e nc e, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, p. S7312.

65. Evid e n ce, Dr H.G. Osborne, p. 8144.

6 6 . Be 11, 11 3 .

67 . E vid e n ce, ANZFAS, Livesto c k Mutil a ti o n s , pp. 2-3.

68 . D. Adams, 'An Approach to Pain in Research Animals', ATLA val . 16, 1988, p.150.

69 . Evid e n ce, Mr A.P. Boultbee, p. 7102.

7 0. W.D. Johnson, L amb losses after marking, Agfact A3.1.4, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1986, p. 3.

Chapter 4

1 . See, for example, E videnc e , Mr D.T. Coombes, p . 8416;

Eviden c e , Dr N.A. Evans, p. 8319.

2 . J.H . Arundel and A.K. Sutherland, Ec t o parasiti c Dise a se s o f

Sh e ep , Cattle , G oa t s and Ho r ses , AGPS, Canberra, 1988, p. 45.

3 . T. Beck, B. Moir and T. Meppem, 'The cost of parasites to the

Australian sheep industry', Quarterl y Re v iew of the Rur a l Economy , vol. 7, 1985, p. 338.

141

4. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 35.

5. Evidence, Australian Wool Corporation, p. S7415, p. 7427.

6. Evidence, Australian Wool Corporation, p. S7415.

7. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 35.

8. Evidence, Dr R.J. Mahon, p. 6570A.

9. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 35.

10. N. Monzu, Flystrike: a manual for its prevention and

control, WA Department of Agriculture, Perth, s.d., p. 12.

11. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 41.

12. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 41.

13. K.J. Bell, Animal Welfare Aspects of Australian Sheep Husbandry Practices, Australian Wool Corporation, Melbourne, 1987, p. 15.

14. Quoted in Arundel and Sutherland, p. 42.

15. Bell, p. 15.

16. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 45.

17. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 45.

18. Bell, p. 16.

19. Beck, Moir and Mappen, p. 337.

20. Quoted in Bell, p. 16.

21. Bell, p. 16.

22. Beck, Moir and Mappen, p. 340.

23. K.G. Wardhaugh and R. Dallwitz, 'Covert flystrike', in Sheep Blowfly and Flystrike in Sheep: Second National Symposium, Sydney, December, 1983, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1984, p. 85.

24. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8071.

25. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8071.

142

26. N. Monzu, S.G. Gherardi and G.P. Mangano, 'The development of an early warning system for the timing of insecticide application to prevent body strike on sheep in Western Australia', in Sheep Bl o wfly and Flystrik e in Sheep: Second

Na ti o n .1l Symposium, Sy dne y, Dec ember 1983, Department of Agriculture, Syd ney, 1984, p. 145. 27. D.J. Cooper and D.E. Pinnock, 'The role of pathogens in the suppression of Luc ilia Cuprina', in Second National

Symposium, pp. 237-241.

28. Evide n ce, Dr R.J. Ma hon, p. 6570A.

29. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 54.

30. M.J. Whitten and R.H. Maddern, 'The theory of genetic control and the development of strains useful in the genetic contro l of the sheep blowfly', in Seco nd N.1tional Symposium, p . 256.

31. Monzu, p. 60.

32. Ev id e n ce, Dr R.J. Mahon, p. 6571A.

33 . Evidence, Dr R.J. Mahon, p. 6572A.

34. Evidence, Dr R.J. Mahon, pp. 6576-8A.

35. Evidence, Mr D.R. Peden, p. 8195.

36. Quoted in B.J. McGuirk, 'Breeding for increased resistance t o fleece rot and body strike', in Second National Symposium, p 0 351.

37. B.J. McGuirk and J.E. Watt s, 'Associations between f l eece, skin and body characters of sheep and susceptibility to fleece rot and body strike' 1 in Second National Symposium, p. 368 0

38 . I.M. Rogan, 'Potential for genetic improvement in resistence to body strike', in Second National Symposium, p. 358.

39. Rogan, pp. 360-361.

40. Evidence, Mr J.A. Butt, p. 8113.

41. Evidence, Dr N. Monzu, p. 7336.

42. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8215; Mr J.A. Butt,

p. 8113 0

43. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8215.

44. Evidence, Dr J. Auty, p. 6620, p. 6604.

1 4 3

45. Evidence, ANZFAS, Livestock Mutilations, p. 4.

46. See, for example, Evidence, Wool Council of Australia, p. S7492; Dr R.G. Beilharz 1 p. 8305; Mr J.A. Butt, p. 8107.

47 . Evidence, Dr G. Alexander 1 p. 8183.

48. Monzu, p. 34.

49 . R.J. Hart, 'Review of breech strike and the mules operation ', in Second National Symposium, pp. 3-24. 50. B. O'Halloran, The recommended mules and tail length, Agfact A3.2.3, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1986, pp. 2-4.

51. Evidence, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, p. S7304.

52 0 Bell, p. 31.

53 0 Evidence, Mr J.A. Butt, p. 8107.

54. Evidence, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, p. S7304.

55 . Evidence, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, p. S7304.

56. Quoted in Hart, p. 17.

57. Evidence, Mr A.H . Bowman, pp. 8404-5 .

58. Evidence, Mr D.T. Coombes, p. 8405.

59. Bell, p. 23.

60. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8227.

61. Evidence, Dr J. Auty, p. 6610.

62. L.R. Fell and D.A. Shutt, 'Salivary cortisol and behavioural indicators of stress in sheep', Proceedings of the Australi an Society of Animal Production, val. 17, 1988, p. 189.

63. L . R. Fell and D.A. Shutt, 'Behavioural and hormonal responses to acute surgical stress in sheep', Applied Animal Behaviour Science, (in press) .

64. Evidence, Mr J. Cahill, p. 8109.

65. Evidence, Dr H.G. Osborne, p. 8162.

66 0 Evidence, Mr J.W. Plant, p. 8191.

67 0 Evidence, ANZFAS, Livestock Mu t i 1 .1 t i on s , p. 3 0

68. Evidence, Mr J.W. Plant, p. 8194.

144

6 9 . Ev id e nce, Mr J.W. Plant, p. 8194.

70. Ev ide n c e , Dr R . Meis chke , p . 8210 .

7 1 . Monzu, p . 37 .

72. Ev id e nc e, NSW Agriculture and Fisheries, pp . S 7 304 - 5 .

73 . Ev id e nc e, NSW Agriculture and Fishe ries, pp . S73 0 9-10 .

74. Arundel and Suthe rland, p . 51.

75. Wardhaugh and Dallwi tz, p. 86.

7 6. Ev id e nce , NSW Agriculture and Fisheries , p . S7310 .

77. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 51.

78. Monzu, p. 50 .

79. Arundel and Sutherland, p. 52.

80. Ev i dence, Dr R.J . Mahon, p . 6581A.

81. E vid e nce , AVCA, p. 8171.

82. Arundel and Sutherland, p . 54 .

83. Quoted in P.B. Hughes, 'Insecticidal control of blowfly strike and the problem of resistance', S e cond Na tion a l Symposium, p. 233.

Chapter 5

1. T. Beck, B . Moir and T. Meppem, 'The cost of parasites to the

Australian sheep industry', Qu a rterly R e view o f th e Ru ra l Ec o n omy , vol. 7, 1985, p. 341 .

2 . Beck , Moir and Meppem, p. 342 .

3. Beck, Moir and Meppem, p. 342.

4. J . D. Williams, Worms i n s h ee p and goat s on th e North Coast,

Agfact A0.9.7, Department of Agriculture, 1984, p. 2.

5 . K. Dash, 'Application of a slow release anthelmintic capsule for the sheep industry', paper presented at the World Sheep and Wool Congress, Launceston, 3 March, 1989.

6. Ev id e nc e, Dr R.G. Brennan, p. 8388.

7 . CSIRO Division of Animal Health, APnu a l R e p o rt 1 98 7, CSIRO,

Melbourne, 1987, p. 19.

145

8. CSIRO Division of Animal Health, p. 15.

9. R.I. Walker, New footrot vaccines for she e p, Agfact A3.9.10,

Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1987, p. 1.

10. Evidence, Dr M.A. Harrison, p. 8265.

11. Evidence, Australian Wool Corporation, p. S7415.

12 . See, for example, Evidence, Mr H.S. Beggs, p. 5753; Dr H.G.

Osborne, p. 8148.

13. E v idence, Mr R. Thirkell-Johnston, p. 5498.

14. Australian Agricultural Council, Sub-Committee on Animal Welfare, Draft Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Sheep, SCAW, Canberra, 1988, p . 7.

15. Evidence, Mr H.S. Beggs, p. 5753.

16. Evidence, Mr M.P. McBride, p. 5754.

17. L.J . Denholm and A.L. Vizard, 'Periodontal disease and premature incisor tooth loss in Australian sheep', Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, Sept/Oct 1986, p. 115.

18 . Editorial, 'Tooth grinding: Welfare considerations', Veterinary Record, val. 118, (26>, 1986, p. 907.

19. Denholm and Vizard, pp. 115-6.

20. J.A. Spence, G.E. Hooper and A . R. Austin, 'Trimming incisor teeth of sheep', Veterinary Record, val. 118, 1986, p. 617. 21. Denholm and Vizard, p. 117.

22. 'Agreement on teeth grinding ban', Veterinary Record, val. 119, 1986, p. 366.

23. Denholm and Vizard, p. 115.

24. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8232.

25. Australian Veterinary Association, Yearbook 1989, AVA, Sydney, 1989, p. 73.

26. Evidence, Dr L.J. Denholm, p. 8282.

27. Denholm and Vizard, p . 118.

28 . Evidence, Dr L.J. Denholm, p. 8283 .

146

29. K.J. Bell , Anim.1l We 1 fare Aspe c ts of Australian Sheep Husb,1ndry Practices, Australian Wool Corporation, Melbourne, 1987, p. 150.

3 0. Evidence , Mr J.R . Baxter, p. 6427 .

3 1. Evidence , Dr T.R. Kuchel, p. 6430.

3 2. Evidenc e, Dr T.R. Kuchel, p. 6431.

33 . Evidence , Dr T.R. Kuchel, p. 6431.

34. T. Grandin, S.E. Curtis, T.M. Widowski and J.C. Thurmon, 'Electro-immobilization versus mechanical restraint in an avoid-avoid choice test for ewes', Journal of Animal Sc ience, vol. 62, 1986, pp . 1469-80.

3 5. J . Rushen, 'Aversion of sheep to electro-immobilization and physical restraint' 1 Appli e d Animal Behaviour Science val. 15, 1986, pp. 315-24.

3 6. J. Rushen and P. Congdon, 'Sheep may be more averse to

electro-immobilisation than to shearing', Australian Ve terinary Journal, vol. 63, 1986, p. 373-4.

3 7. E.H. Jephcott and I.C. McMillan, 'A comparison of the effects of electroimmobilisation and, or, shearing procedures on ovine plasma concentrations of beta-endorphin/ beta-lipoprotein and cortisol', Re se arch in Ve t e rinary

Science, vol. 43, 1987, pp. 97-100.

38 . E.H. Jephcott and I.C. McMillan, 'Electroimmobilisation and ovine plasma cortisol concentrations: effect of current intensity, current duration and diazepam' 1 Research 1n Veterinary Science, vol. 44, 1988, pp. 21-24.

39. Evidence, ANZFAS, p. 87400.

40. Evidence , Dr J.H. Auty, p. 6627.

41. Evidence, Dr D.B. Lindsay, p. 8160.

42. Evidence, Dr D.B. Lindsay, p. 8160.

43. Evidence, Professor A.R. Egan, pp. 8314-5.

44. Bell, p. 81.

45. Bell, p. 82.

46. Bell, p. 85.

147

47. See, for example, I. Simpson and A. Luff, Sheep yard design

and construction, Agfact A3.E6, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1988; Australian Wool Corporation, Wool H.1rvcsting Notes, AWC, Melbourne, 1987.

48. Evidence, Dr R.G. Beilharz, p. 8297.

49. Evidence, University of Melbourne, p. S7412.

50. R. Cavalier, 'Microchip v saleyard', Australi.1n Financial Review 15 August 1988, p. 47 Suppl.

51. The Han. J. Kerin, Opening address, World Sheep and Wool Congress, Hobart, 1 March, 1989.

Chapter 6

1. Australian Wool Corporation, Annual Report 1986-87, AWC, Melbourne, 1987, p. 18.

2. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8443.

3. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8076.

4. Evidence, Dr J.Z. Foot, p. 8285.

5. Evidence, Dr R.G. Brennan, p. 8383.

6. Quoted in Evidence, ANZFAS, p. S7393.

7. Evidence, Mr J. Cahill, p. 8122.

8. Evidence, ANZFAS, p. S7393.

9. Australian Veterinary Association, Correspondence, 28 October 1988.

10. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8220.

11. Evidence, Dr H.G. Osborne, p. 8156.

12. K.J. Bell, Animal Welfare Aspects of Australian Sheep Husbandry Practices, Australian Wool Corporation, Melbourne, 1987, p. 98.

13. Bell, pp. 99-100; L.R. Fell and D.A. Shutt, 'Salivary cortisol and behavioural indicators of stress in sheep', Proceedings of the Australian Society of Animal Production, val. 17, 1988, pp. 186-7.

14. M. Gabrys, Harvesting, marketing and distribution costs for Australian wool, Australian Wool Corporation, Melbourne, 1989, p. 5.

148

15. Evidence, Mr A.H. Bowman 1 p. 8401. 16. I. Simpson 1 Shearing shed design - the board, Agfact

A3.E2, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1987; F. Brian, Races and ramps fo r gelling sheep away 1 Agnate 430/721, Department of Agriculture, Melbourne, 1985.

17. Evidence, Mr H.S. Beggs, p. 5764.

18. Evidence, University of Western Australia, Department of Mechanical Engineering, p. S5803.

19. Evidence, Australian Wool Corporation, p. S7427.

20. Evidence, Dr T.W. Scott, p. 8131.

21. Evidence, Dr T.W. Scott, p. 8132.

22. R. Bligh, 'Shearing without shears - fact or fantasy? A report on research into biological harvesting of wool', paper presented to the World Sheep and Wool Congress, Hobart, 1 March 1989.

23. Evidence, Dr T.W. Scott, p. 8132.

24. Evidence, Dr T.W. Scott 1 p. 8136.

25. Bligh, (p. 5).

26. Evidence, Drs T.W. Scott and B.W. Stacy 1 pp. 8132-6. 27. Evidence, Professor B.P. Setchell, p. 6453.

28. Dr T.W. Scott, Correspondence 1 23 December 1986. 29. Evidence, ANZFAS, p. S7398.

30. B.A. Panaretto et al., 'Biological wool harvesting', paper presented to the Australian Veterinary Association 65th Annual Meeting, Canberra, May 1988, pp. 2-3.

31. Panaretto, p. 3.

32. Evidence, ANZFAS, p. S7399.

33. Evidence, University of Western Australia, Department of Mechanical Engineering, pp. S5789-92.

34. Evidence, Mr J.R. Baxter, p. 6446.

35. See, for example, Evidence, Mr L.J.B. Binns, p. 8255.

36. Evidence, Mr J.P. Trevelyan, p. 7130.

14 9

37. J. Trevelyan, 'Is the robotic shearer a reality or just

science fiction?', paper presented to the World Sheep and Wool Congress, Hobart, 1 March 1989.

38. Evidence, Mr J.P. Trevelyan, p. 7132.

39. Evidence, ANZFAS, p. S7400.

40. Evidence, Mr A.H. Bowman, p. 8419.

Chapter 7

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Li v esrock and livcsrock producrs Au s tralia 1986-87, Cat. no. 7221.0, ABS, Canberra, p. 17.

2. G. Alexander and O.B. Williams, eds, The Pasroraf Industries of Australia, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 1986, p. 217.

3. J. Clarke, Influences on lambing performance, Department of Agriculture, Melbourne, 1985, p. 1.

4. C. Shands, Sheep reproduclion - length of joining, Agfact

A3.4.4, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1986, p. 1.

5. Alexander and Williams, p. 217.

6. Shands, p. 2.

7. J.B. D'Arcy, Sheep Management and Wool Technology, rev. ed., NSW University Press, Kensington, 1986, p. 252.

8. Clarke, p. 2.

9. Alexander and Williams, p. 212.

10. J.W. Plant, Fertiliry resting of rams, Agfact A3.4.6, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1986, p. 2.

11. Clarke, p. 2.

12. Alexander and Williams, p. 225.

13. Clarke, p. 2.

14. M. Jones, 'Breeding the perfect sheep - how the new

technologies are helping in reaching that goal', paper presented at the World Sheep and Wool Congress, Launceston, 3 March 1989,

15. Jones, .

150

16. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8079.

17. Jones, .

18. H.W. Raadsma and I.M. Rogan, 'Genetic variation in resistance to blowfly strike', in Merino improvement programs in Australia, ed. B.J. McGuirk, Australian Wool Corporation, Melbourne, 1987, p. 321.

19. Raadsma and Rogan, p. 321.

20. P.J. James, R.W. Ponzoni, J.R.W. Walkley, K.J. Whiteley and J.E. Stafford, 'Fleece rot in South Australian merinos: heritability and correlations with fleece characteristics', in Merino improvement programs p. 343.

21. James et al., p. 345.

22. I.W. Purvis, K.D. Atkins and L.R. Piper, 'Genetic parameters for reproductive traits', in Merino improvement programs, p. 233.

23. L.R. Piper and B.M. Bindon, 'Industry utilisation of the Booroola Merino in Australia', in Merino improvement programs, p. 279.

24. Piper and Bindon, p.

25. R.W. Ponzoni, 'WOOLPLAN- design and implications for the Merino industry', in Merino improvement programs, pp. 25-38.

26. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, pp. 8078-9.

27. K.J. Bell, Animal Welfare Aspects of Australian Sheep Husbandry Practices, Australian Wool Corporation, Melbourne, 1987, p. 133.

28. Bell, p. 139.

29. N. Garnett, 'What practical experience has taught us about the new breeding technologies', paper presented to the World Sheep and wool Congress, Launceston, 3 March 1989.

30. Bell, p. 134.

31. Evidence, Professor J.P. Kennedy, p. 8079.

32. Quoted in Bell, p. 137.

33. Bell, pp. 137-8.

34. Garnett, (p. 3).

151

35. Be ll, p . 139.

36 . Alexander and Williams, p . 2 28.

3 7 . Be ll , p . 14 0 .

38 . Alexander and Williams, p. 228.

39. Be ll, p . 141 .

4 0 . Al exander and Williams, p . 228.

4 1 . Ev id e nce , Dr H.G. Osborne, pp. 8147 -8 .

4 2. Bio t ec hnol ogy , CSIRO, Canberra, 1986, p. 17.

4 3 . K. Ward, 'Ge netic engineering to breed superior sheep?', p a per presented to the World Sheep and Wool Congress, Launceston, 3 March 1989.

4 4 . B i o t e c h no I o g y pp . 16 -1 7 .

4 5 . C. Murphy, 'The 'new genetics' and the welfare of animals ' , Ne w Sc ient is t 10 December 1988, p. 20.

46. I . R. Franklin, 'Gene transfer for the Australian sheep industry', in Merino impro v eme nt prog r am s , p. 501. 47. Murphy, p. 20.

4 8 . Ev id e nce, Dr T.W. Scott, p. 8130.

Chap ter 8

1. R.H. Luke and A.G. McArthur, Bushfircs 1n Australia, AGPS, Canberra, 1978, p. 294.

2. A u s tral i an A g riculture, National Farmers Federation, Canberra, 1987, pp. 418-25 .

3 . A u s tralian Agriculture, pp. 420-5.

4. E vidence , Mr D.T. Coombes, p. 8403 .

5 . Luke and McArthur, pp. 342-3 .

6. C. Townend, Pulling the Woo l: a n e w lo o k at the Austr a li a n

woo l indu s try, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1985, p. 115.

7. Mac quari e Bo o k o f Ev e nts, Macquarie Library, Sydney, 1986, p. 584.

152

8. See, for example, D. Hucker, Saving burnt li vestock­ assessment and treatment, Agnate 430/608, Department of Agriculture, Melbourne, 1985. 9 . Hucker, p. 1.

10. W. Ralph, 'Teaching sheep to eat grain', Rur.1l Research, no. 138, 1988, pp.21-22.

11 . Cod c of a c c c p t e d fa r min g p r :1 c t icc for t he we 1 [

sheep, Agnate 430/20, Department of Agriculture, Melbourne, 1982, p. 1.

12. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Y ea rb oo k 19 88, ABS, Canberra, 1988, p. 627.

13. Evidence, ANZFAS, p. S7389.

14 0 Evidence , Dr M.A. Harrison, p. 8270.

15. Evidence, Dr M.A. Harrison, p. 8274.

16. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8216.

17. Australian Bureau of Statistics, p. 627.

18. Evidence, Professor A.R. Egan, p. S7411.

19. Evidence , Professor A.R. Egan, p. S7412.

20. Townend, p. 111.

21. Townend, p. 113.

22 . A.R. Clark, Drought feeding of sheep, Agfact A3.5.4, Department of Agriculture, Sydney, 1986, p. 6.

23. Evidence, Dr G. Alexander, p. 8190 .

24. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8217.

25 . Evidence, Dr M.D. Barton, p. 8153.

26. Evidence, Mr A. H. Bowman, p. 8414.

27. Primary Industries and Resources: Policies for Growl h 1 Canberra, 1988, p. 41. AGPS,

28. D.I. Smith and S.D. Callahan, Climatic and Agricultural Drought , Payments and Policy: a study of New South Wales, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, Canberra, 1986, p. 30.

29. Smith and Callahan,

153

30. Smith and Callahan, p. 46.

31. Smith and Callahan, p. 48.

32. Smith and Callahan, pp. 52-4.

33. Smith and Callahan, p. 94.

34. Australian Soil Conservation Council, Report of the Working Party on the Effects of Drought Ass is t ,1 n c e Measures and

Policies on Land Degradation, AGPS, Canberra, 1988, p. 4.

35. Australian Soil Conservation Council, p. iv.

Chapter 9

1. Evidence, Mr J.W. Plant, p. 8187; Mr E.J. McMahon, p. 5696.

2. Ev i dencc, Dr R.G. Brennan, p. 8381.

3. Evidence, Mr R.K. Edwards, p. 6734.

4. P. Barber, RSPCA

5. G. Lewis, RSPCA

6. S. Kopperud, 'Animal welfare/animal rights: the US scene', paper presented to the Australian Federation for the Welfare of Animals 2nd annual conference, Brisbane, 13 April 1989.

7. Evidence, Dr R.J. Crossing, p. 8278.

8. Evidence, Mr L.W. Lane, pp. 6193-4.

9. Evidence, Mr A. H. Bowman, p. 8399.

10. Evidence, Dr R. Meischke, p. 8206; Mr L.W. Lane, p. 6193; Dr R.J. Crossing, p. 8277.

11. G. George, Model Codes of Practice for the Welfare of

Animals: a survey of the extent of dissemination, degree of acceptance and methods of review, Australian Agricultural Health and Quarantine Service, Canberra, (s.d. ), pp. 20-1.

12. For example, Evidence, ANZFAS, p. S7405.

154

APPENDIX 1

LIST OF WITNESSES WHO APPEARED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE

Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Association Represented by: Mr G.A. Van Rijswijk, Technical Manager

Association of Stud Sheep Breeders of Australia Represented by: Mr L.J.B. Binns, President

Australian Agricultural Health and Quarantine Service Represented by: Mr R.G. Brennan, Principal Veterinary Officer, Animal Welfare Mr I.G.R. Davis, Principal Veterinary

Officer, Animal Welfare Mr K.A. Doyle, Assistant Director Mr J.H. Jenkins, Acting Deputy Director Mr L.W. Lane, Acting Director Mr B.L. Moore, Principal Veterinary

Officer

Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies Represented by: Ms B. Dover

Australian Bureau of Animal Health Represented by: Mr J.H. Auty, Acting Director Mr R.W. Gee, Director

Dr H.R.C. Meischke, Acting Principal Veterinary Officer Mr B.L. Moore, Acting Senior Veterinary Officer

Australian Federation for the Welfare of Animals Inc. Represented by: Dr G. Alexander, President Mr D.I. Aspinall, Councillor Dr D.B. Lindsay, Vice-President

Mr D.R. Peden, Member Mr J.W. Plant, Member

155

Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation Represented by: Mr L.D. Beeby, Manager, Livestock Services Section Mr L.E. Brownlie, Director of

Technical Services Mr J.C. Hughes, Senior Livestock Officer and Animal Welfare Officer Mr R.S. Jordan, Acting Managing

Director Mr F.D. Shaw, Consultant

Australian Veterinary Association Represented by: Dr J.H. Arundel, President, 1984 Dr M.D. Barton, President, 1988 Dr T.E. Jones, President-Elect, 1984

Dr D.B. Lindsay, Convenor, Standing Committee on Animal Welfare Dr H.G. Osborne, President, Australian Sheep Veterinary Society Dr M.A. Rose, Member

Australian Wool Corporation Represented by: Dr N.A. Evans, Group Manager, Research and Development Dr S.C. Van Mourik, Production

Research Officer

Auty, Mr J.H., Private Citizen, Binalong, New South Wales

Batey, Dr R.G., Private Citizen, Karragullen, Western Australia

CSIRO Division of Animal Represented by: Production Dr R.M. Hoskinson, Senior Principal

Research Scientist Dr B.A. Panaretto, Senior Principal Research Scientist Dr T.W. Scott, Chief Dr B.D. Stacy, Assistant Chief

CSIRO Division of Entomology Represented by: Dr R.J. Mahon, Senior Research Scientist

Department of Agriculture Represented by: Mr J.T. Bruce, Agricultural Officer Mr A.L. Jones, Agricultural Officer Mr F.B. Ryan, Chief Veterinary Officer

Dr A.N. Smith, Director

15 6

Department of Agriculture Represented by: and Rural Affairs

Department of Agriculture Represented by:

Flinders Medical Centre Represented by:

Mr R.C. Couchman, Senior Analyst, Policy Development Branch Dr R.C. Crossing, Director, Bureau of Animal Welfare Dr L.J. Denholm, Senior Veterinary

Research Officer Dr J.Z. Foot, Research Scientist, Pastoral Research Institute Dr M.A. Harrison, Principal Veterinary

Officer, Extensive Livestock

Cattle Branch Mr P. Smetana, Principal Officer, Intensive Industries Branch

Dr W.B. Runciman, Senior Lecturer, Intensive Care Unit

Meischke, Dr H.R.C., Private Citizen, New South Wales

Merino Wool Harvesting Pty Represented by: Ltd Mr A.R.

Mr L.H. Dr J.R.

Arthur, Managing Director Lines, Director Baxter, Technical Director

Miller, Mr G.A., Private Citizen, Culcairn, New South Wales

National Farmers Federation Represented by: Dr A. Bas, Research Officer Mr N.L. Holland, Producer Representative

Mr J.R. MacNamara, Director, Public Relations

157

New South Wales Agriculture and Fisheries Represented by: Mr J.A. Butt, Principal Livestock Officer, Sheep and Wool

Pastoralists and Graziers Represented by:

RSPCA

RSPCA

RSPCA

Mr J. Cahill, Adviser, Sheep and Wool Production Dr L.R. Fell, Senior Research Scientist Mr B.P. Healy, Assistant Principal

Veterinary Officer Mr J.W. Plant, Special Veterinary Officer, Sheep Health

Association of Western Australia Mr A.P. Boultbee, Chairman, Meat Livestock Division Mr A.F. Cleland, Chairman, Wool

Committee

and

Mr G.A. Savell, Executive Director

Dr R.G. Brennan, Technical Adviser Dr H.R.C. Meischke, Veterinary Surgeon, Technical Adviser Mr J.F. Strachan, President

Dr H.J. Wirth, Vice-President Mr C.M. Wright, Executive Director

Lt-Col. M.J. Harries, Secretary and Public Officer Dr D.N. Mackie, Deputy Chairman

Mr P.J. Barber, State Director Dr H.J. Wirth, President

Sheepmeat Council of Australia Represented by: Mr P.B. Blandford, President Mr D.T. Coombes, Executive Director Mr K.R. James, Immediate Past

President Mr R. Moxham, Executive Director

South Australian Department of Agriculture Represented by: Dr T.R. Kuchel, Principal Clinical Veterinary Officer, Central Veterinary Laboratories

158

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association Represented by: Mr M.C. Cleland, Chairman, Animal Industries Committee Mr D. Eddington, Chairman, Meat

Council

Tasmanian Fine Merino Breeders Association Represented by: Mr R. Thirkell-Johnston

Townend, Mrs C.E., Private Citizen, Gordon, New South Wales

University of Adelaide, School of ru1imal Sciences Represented by: Professor B.P. Setchell, Professor of Animal Sciences

University of Melbourne, School of Agriculture and Forestry Represented by: Dr R.G. Beilharz Professor A.R. Egan

University of New South Wales, Department of Wool and Animal Science Represented by: Associate Professor J.P. Kennedy

University of Western Australia Represented by: Mr D. Elford, Senior Mechanical Design Engineer, Automated Sheep Shearing Project

Wool Council of Australia Represented by:

Professor D.R. Lindsay, Professor of Agriculture and Chairman, Animal Welfare Committee Mr J.P. Trevelyan, Technical Director,

Automated Sheep Shearing Project

Mr H.S. Beggs, President Mr A.H. Bowman, Member Mr M.P. McBride, Wool Councillor Mr E.J. McMahon, Wool Councillor Mr B. Parkinson, Wool Councillor

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