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Testimonials

Since Tri-Solfen® was commercially launched, over 80 million lambs have been treated and over 80% of Australian wool growers are now using Tri-Solfen for their sheep. Here’s what some of them have to say…

‘We have used pain relief for two years now and seen real production gains. We are concerned for the welfare of our animals and will continue to use pain relief to ensure they get the best care.’

Clinton Wise– Wililoo Merino Stud, Woodanilling, W.A.

'It easy to see the difference pain relief makes. Before, lambs would walk away hunched up, even taking a couple of hours to walk back to the paddock. Now they run straight back to Mum and start suckling,” says Rod. “My wool is now sold under the Better Choices brand. I see this as a definite advantage. I think it will be an advantage in the long run, to both me and the industry as a whole.'

Rod Miller– Glenpaen Merino Stud, Horsham, Vic

'After being treated with pain relief my lambs were more content and less stressed. As farmers we are sincere in looking after the welfare of our animals and using pain relief demonstrates this.'

Richard Coole– Frankland, W.A.

'We have been using pain relief for the past three years. We’re impressed by reduced bleeding in the mulesing wound immediately after application. Lambs run straight back to find the ewe, which has dramatically reduced our mortality rates. Flock management, post lamb marking is easier due to the effect of pain relief and the scab healing faster.'

Ryan & Malcom O’Dea– Peepingee Merino Stud, Narrogin, W.A.

'Using pain relief eases the stress and allows lambs to mother up and move back to the paddock easier with faster weight gains.'

Kent Lummis– Waverley Downs, Gilgandra, NSW

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Advisory Board

Ian Page

Non-Executive Director

Ian is Chief Executive Officer of Dechra Pharmaceuticals, which has a 33% shareholder in Medical Ethics. He joined National Veterinary Services, Dechra’s former services business in 1989 and joined the Board of Dechra in 1997. In October 2010, Ian was appointed as Non-Executive Chairman of Sanford DeLand Asset Management.

Dr Chris Roberts

Human Wound and Regulatory Advisor

Chris has over 20 years’ line management experience of heading clinical research teams. He was previously global head of Smith & Nephew clinical support and market development, where he managed global clinical Phase II and III programmes in the management of venous and pressure ulcers.

Lieutenant Colonel Professor Steven Jeffery

Medical Specialist Advisor

Steve has over 15 years’ experience in military plastic surgery. In 2011 he was awarded the Military Civilian Partnership Award for ‘Regular of the Year’, as well as receiving the Wounds UK ‘Key Contribution’ award and the Smith and Nephew ‘Customer Pioneer of the Year’ award. He has also been awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England ad eundum. He is an expert adviser to NICE Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme. Steve co-founded the Woundcare 4 Heroes charity, which is already making a big difference to the wound care of both serving and veteran personnel.

Dr Matthew Bayfield

Medical Specialist Scientific Director

Dr Matthew Bayfield, Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Strathfield Private Hospital and VMO Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

Professor Peter Windsor

Veterinarian Research Advisor

Peter is a registered specialist veterinary surgeon in New South Wales and an emeritus Professor at Sydney University. He holds a BVSc (Hons), PhD, DVSc and diploma from the European College of Small Ruminant Health Management.

Dr Julian Braidwood

Global Regulatory Affairs Advisor

Julian has held leadership roles and managed international clinical projects with Grampian. He was previously Regulatory Affairs Manager at Novartis Animal Health. He is the Founder and Managing Director of Triveritas, where he is responsible for a team of 40 animal health specialists across the EU and the US.

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Story of Two brothers: one mulesing with Pain Relief, one not mulesing

December 22, 2015

To mules or not to mules — it is a vexed issue for any woolgrower.

The controversial practice involves removing the skin around the breech, or anus, and the tail area of the sheep.

The technique was developed in the 1930s to reduce the risk of flystrike, where maggots eat into the flesh of the sheep while it is alive.

Australian Wool Innovation says flystrike is difficult to detect early and can be rapidly kill the animal.

But the industry has faced significant pressure from animal welfare groups, who have long called for the end of mulesing, arguing it is cruel.

A significant number of farmers have stopped the practice, while others see it as necessary but choose to use pain relief.

In western Queensland, the Counsell brothers have chosen two different management techniques — with one mulesing and the other not.

AUDIO: Western Queensland sheep producers and brothers Scott and David Counsell discuss mulesing (ABC Rural)

David: breeding flystrike-resistant sheep

David Counsell is from Dunblane near Barcaldine in western Queensland.

He decided to stop mulesing in 2009, and said increased scrutiny from consumers and demand for better animal welfare encouraged him to change.

“City people are very interested in what we do to our animals and how we work with our animals,” David said.

“Their perceptions of how animals should be run are really important. After all, they are the ones buying all the products that we produce.

I don’t see blowfly like everyone talks about, so I wonder why are we mulesing? I know I don’t need to mules my sheep.

David Counsell

“So we have to be mindful of how they think about animals and how good of a job we are doing.

“That is a big driver for me about mulesing — that city people don’t connect the dots well between what mulesing is meant to be doing.

“They are wanting to know that we are an industry saying ‘we mules because we don’t have an alternative’, but we do have alternatives now.

“That is part of my story. I see an opportunity here to get ahead of the game, learn how to run un-mulesed in this part of the world and deliver on that requirement by our customers to ensure I have a good record when it comes to animal welfare.”

David said he had bred specific sheep to be flystrike-resistant.

“I have three strategies in place: genetics, chemicals and a management calendar, giving me a multifactorial solution,” he said.

Scott Counsell inspects wool in the Dunblane shearing shed. PHOTO: Scott Counsell inspects wool at brother David Counsell’s property Dunblane near Barcaldine.  (ABC Rural: Lydia Burton)

“All of my blowfly prevention stuff is all gathering dust in the shed; I haven’t used it in years.

“I don’t see blowfly like everyone talks about, so I wonder why are we mulesing?

“I know I don’t need to mules my sheep.”

David said his management decision opened his wool up for maximum competition.

“It is hard to demonstrate that there is a premium for non mulesed wool,” he said.

“What I do know is that when I tick that box on the national wool declaration, I am more likely to attract someone who is chasing wool from sheep that haven’t been mulesed [rather] than the next bloke [who] might have mulesed.”

Scott: mules with pain relief

Fifty kilometres down the road at Lyndon lives David’s brother Scott, who continues to mules his sheep.

With flystrike estimated to cost the Australian sheep industry $280 million each year, Scott Counsell said blowfly attacks and their impact on animals was as big a welfare issue as mulesing.

He defended the practice as a management strategy to protect his sheep.

If you see sheep covered with flies and whatnot, that is a terrible outcome for animal welfare and mulesing does alleviate that problem …a huge percentage of guys are using pain relief in that situation.

Richard Halliday, WoolProducers Australia president

“I mules because it is a management issue, it is a husbandry issue as well,” Scott said.

“At certain times of the year, if everything is in the blowflies’ favour, they can be quite bad.”

Australian Wool Innovation said its long term aim was to remove the need for mulesing through better breeding and herd management.

However, where the risk of flystrike remains high, it encourages woolgrowers to use what it describes as “welfare-improved practices”, such as the use of pain relief when mulesing.

Scott said that was a change he had been willing to make.

“We are going to use it, but because of the drought we have sold all our sheep, so we will go down that path and start using it,” he said.

In terms of premiums Scott said he could not see any difference in price for non-mulesed sheep.

“Whether you have wool that is mulesed or not mulesed going up on the same day, I am seeing no difference at the moment,” he said.

“Until there is a definite premium there will be people that continue to mules, and people to choose to breed different type of sheep.

“But until that [premium] changes, I can’t see that we will all be going down that ease of management yet.”

WoolProducers Australia says no right or wrong when it comes to mulesing

Richard Halliday, president of the national advocacy body, WoolProducers Australia said it was up to individual producers to decide if mulesing was a feasible option for their business.

“It is a decision [each producer] makes for their own business in the best interest of their animal welfare,” Mr Halliday said.

“At this point in time, our policy is that producers will do what is best for the welfare of their own animal.

“In some situations, mulesing is still the best option.

“If you see sheep covered with flies and whatnot, that is a terrible outcome for animal welfare and mulesing does alleviate that problem by removing that little bit of skin near the breech and stops animals from having those issues.

“And there is a huge percentage of guys who are using pain relief in that situation [when mulesing] anyway.”

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