[10 March/ABC News]

European buyer of Australian super fine wool, Davide Fontaneto of Vitale Barberis Canonico, has urged growers to end mulesing before customers go elsewhere to buy wool. Mulesing is a practice where farmers cut strips of wool-bearing skin from a sheep’s backside to keep it clean and fly free. He added that they were facing requests from clients for fabrics to not be made of mulesed wool. Australian Wool Innovation said they are committed to the research, development and extension programme to reduce to reliance on mulesing, and that animal welfare and flystrike were its top research priority. Mr Fontaneto added that he thought Australia needed to more seriously consider setting a target date to end the practice. Head of the Australian Wool Exporters Council, Matthew Hand, noted pressure from customers from non-mulesed wool is rising.