There are better ways to stop flystrike than mutilation

HSI Australia has been leading the charge to end mulesing in Australia for over a decade.

Recently mulesed lambs

Australia is a major global producer of wool and we bear the sad distinction of being the only place in the world where mulesing still occurs. Merino sheep originally had smooth skin, but a breed was introduced in 1883 with folds of skin in order to yield more wool.

This caused sheep to be susceptible to a serious condition called ‘flystrike’, where blowfly maggots infest the folded wrinkles of sheep. To counteract the problem of flystrike, mulesing was developed by John Mules in the 1920s.

Most Merino lambs bred for wool are subjected to mulesing at just 2-10 weeks of age. They are restrained in a metal cradle and have the flesh from their backside sliced off with sharp garden-style shears, often without pain relief.

Flystrike is a serious problem and nobody wants to see sheep end up with painful fly infestations. Fortunately, through better breeding practices, wool growers can select rams with no wrinkles to produce plain-bodied, flystrike resistant, sheep.


We’re calling on retailers and brands to source better wool

Download the Guide using the form below.

Compassionate consumers are demanding an end to painful farming practices like mulesing, which is encouraging more and more retailers and brands to phase out mulesed wool.

We inform retailers and brands about the issue of mulesing and ask them to commit to phase out mulesed wool from their supply chains.

More than 200 are featured in our Better Wool Guide, helping consumers to more easily identify and support brands with a position against mulesing, as well as supporting wool growers who are using the kinder solution of better genetics.

HSI has been working with many retailers and brands, assisting with their mulesing policies. We invite others to get in touch so we can advise on how to qualify for our Guide.


What you can do

Mulesing is largely a forgotten animal welfare issue in Australia, and it’s one you can help bring awareness to. With more than 10 million lambs affected by this painful procedure every year, spreading the word can have a major impact:

If you choose to buy clothing or any goods made from wool, download the Better Wool Guide using the form below, and use it to make kinder purchases.

Sign the petition to call for changes in legislation which would phase out mulesing by 2030 and mandate pain relief for painful husbandry procedures on lambs immediately.

Share our campaign and our mulesing explainer video.


Buying wool?

Download the Better Wool Guide


We’re also helping farmers choose more sheep-friendly practices

In 2020, we jointly commissioned an independent economic report for farmers, titled Towards a Non-Mulesed Future. It explored the economic viability of transitioning to a non-mulesedwool farming enterprise. The report showed it’s not only beneficial for lambs, but profitable for wool growers too.

Sign the petition

Read more

Out of date sheep standards a liability to industry

Out of date sheep standards a liability to industry

A national sheep industry survey has revealed just how frequently surgical procedures are performed on Australian sheep without any pain relief.  The results were published last week in the Sheep Sustainability Framework On-farm Insights…

Read More
Animal welfare organisations unite to help fast-track an end to painful mulesing

Animal welfare organisations unite to help fast-track an end to painful mulesing

Three leading animal welfare organisations, FOUR PAWS, Humane Society International (HSI) Australia and RSPCA Australia, announced today a partnership to work towards an end to mulesing across Australia. The partnership will include regular contact…

Read More
Horrors of Australia’s slaughter files and what they tell us about our animal welfare system

Horrors of Australia’s slaughter files and what they tell us about our animal welfare system

Recently, over 8000 pages of ‘Animal Welfare Incident Reports’ were publicly released that chronicle the horrendous experiences of more than 4000 animals before slaughter. It’s a miserable read, complete with nightmarish photos.   The fact…

Read More