What is the National Wool Declaration?
The National Wool Declaration (NWD) is an important document for wool growers to demonstrate their commitment to best-practice animal welfare on their properties. It is a voluntary, but recommended, declaration from woolgrowers that allows them to communicate with prospective buyers, processors, manufacturers and retailers regarding:
The National Wool Declarations are increasingly utilised by the wool trade, with more growers stating their current mulesing status. The declaration rates for the national clip by mulesing status have steadily increased from 2008 (38%) to 2017 (66%).
The information provided in the NWD is vital in providing transparency to the wool supply chain about management practices in the Australian sheep industry and is backed by a strong integrity program.
How to complete the National Wool Declaration
Woolgrowers can use the NWD to declare their use of Pain Relief (PR), to demonstrate that they have Ceased Mulesing (CM) on their property, or state that their flock is completely Non Mulesed (NM). Note: Mulesing is defined as the removal of skin from the breech and/or tail of a sheep using mulesing shears.
How to declare the mob Mulesing Status
If a mob comprises:
Ceased Mulesing (CM) status can be declared if no lambs born in the last 12 months are mulesed and no mulesed ewes or wethers are purchased (even if they had Pain Relief).
There is no “allowable” number of Mulesed sheep in a Non Mulesed mob. Prior to shearing every effort must be made to draft off all Mulesed sheep from Non Mulesed sheep. The intention is that a Non Mulesed mob is just that, Non Mulesed.
How to declare mobs of sheep with mixed Mulesing Status
Wool from mobs that have different Mulesing Status, regardless of the number of sheep, should be declared as the lowest common denominator. For example
The National Wool Declaration-Integrity Program
If you declare your wool to be from non mulesed sheep, mulesed sheep that received pain relief or that you have ceased mulesing, be prepared to back that up because you may be inspected.
ParaBoss Executive Officer, Deb Maxwell, ceased mulesing her sheep in 2009 and has declared wool CM and NM for some years. This year she was called up for a sheep inspection to check none were mulesed.
The ewes were brought in for AWEX inspector, Grant Donnelly (pictured), who checked for scarring along the side of the tail and on the breech.
About 250 were checked and Grant felt the skin on every one.
Deb said, “It was no imposition as he was surprisingly fast, and it was good to have the opportunity to prove their status.”
The NWD-Integrity Program is an independent verification of the accuracy of Declarations made by growers through cross-checking documentation (i.e. NWD, Classer’s Specification and sale catalogue data), verifying the use of Pain Relief (PR), and On Farm Inspections of sheep declared as Non Mulesed (NM) or Ceased Mulesing (CM). It is conducted by AWEX, through randomly selected Desk Audits, Pain Relief Authentications and On Farm Inspections. The Integrity Program supports the NWD by ensuring that buyers, processors, manufacturers and retailers can have confidence in the Declarations made.