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Ask Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce to End Barbaric Mulesing Mutilations

Australia's wool farmers insist on clinging to the cruel tradition of mulesing – a barbaric procedure in which huge chunks of skin and flesh are cut from lambs' backsides, often without any pain relief – and went back on their pledge to end the mutilations by 2010. Because the wool industry hasn't kept its word, the time has come for the Australian government to take action to phase out mulesing. We need your help to make sure that Australia's prime minister knows how important this issue is to caring people in Australia and around the world.

Australia is home to the world's largest population of merino sheep, who are bred to have extra-wrinkly skin so that they will produce more wool. But the excess skin also makes them especially susceptible to "flystrike", a condition in which flies lay eggs in the moist folds of skin and the hatched maggots eat the sheep alive. In a misguided attempt to prevent flystrike, many Australian farmers continue to practice mulesing even though it is not widely practiced anywhere else in the world. This mutilation is performed in an attempt to produce smooth, scarred skin that won't harbour fly eggs, but the bloody wounds often attract flies and result in flystrike before they heal.

There are many humane options already being used successfully by many farmers across Australia – and New Zealand has virtually stopped mulesing altogether. However, the most obvious and humane solution to mulesing is to breed sheep who are less susceptible to flystrike. Experts have stated that with the right breeding programme, farmers could transition to raising sheep who are less susceptible to flystrike within two years.

Please use the form below to send a message to Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce asking the government to take swift action to end mulesing. And remember: the best way to make sure that you are not supporting cruelty to lambs is by not wearing any wool.

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