Tuesday, March 25, 2008

So What Is All This About

There has been a lot of media and discussion about the issue of Mulesing of Australian Merino Lambs.

As a farmer, the bottom line is we are very passionate about our animal welfare. Mulesing is not something anyone enjoys doing!

It is done out of necessity by people who do not have an economic alternative to protecting their lambs from fly strike. (Fly strike is when flies lay maggots on the sheep and the maggots eat into the flesh of the sheep causing an excruciating death by septicemia)

This site is not about the pro's or cons of mulesing.

This site is an attempt to enable consumers around the world to make a difference for Australian Merino Lambs. Not protest, not boycott, not talk - DO!

Our farm is located halfway between Sydney and Melbourne. We are in the beautiful foothills to the Snowy Mountains.
Our farm is 4,200 acres in size. We run Fine Wool Merino Sheep and Beef Cattle.

I am a sixth generation Australian Merino Breeder.

My Mum and Dad live on our property, "Rylands".

We want to not Mules our lambs this year. However we need your help to do this.

If we don't Mules our lambs this year there will be significant additional costs to our business. For example, the sheep will have to be regularly mustered and brought into the the shearing shed, checked and treated with fly strike prevention chemical. This is a huge task over a 4,200 acre property. It is an even more difficult task for a farmer who is 78 and has just had two knee replacements.

To make this easier, we will have to put in a lane way system around the farm so the sheep and lambs can be more easily mustered, and it will be much easier for Pa to do it.

The cost of labour will be significantly higher to do this as well as the increased costs of treating the sheep.

With the increased costs we will need to increase income to cope. To increase the farm income we will need to replace existing pastures with deep rooted perennial pastures that will allow us to run more stock. These deep rooted perennial pastures also are more effective in sequestering carbon in the soil, so helping us do our bit for Global Greenhouse Gas emissions.

To make these pastures more effective we will need to increase our application of fertiliser, which is an expensive input.
In order to increase the genetic progress of our animals we will also need to change over all our Rams. Normally we only have to replace some of our rams each year. If we are going to move to sheep that genetically have less need for mulesing as soon as possible, we will need to replace all 40 of our rams at once.

So can you see how you can help?
You can help fund this.
Part of the conundrum is that because department stores and retailers are boycotting our products, there is very little chance we will be able to get the increase in prices we need to pay for the costs associated with not mulesing our lambs and giving our global customers the products they want.
Having survived the worst drought in since records have been kept, we are not able to fund all these things as quickly as we can with your help.
You can help to make this happen now.
This years mating season has started on 1 March. We carefully select individual Rams to be joined with individual ewes to make sure the best characteristics of both parents come through to the lambs. This is a very detailed and planned exercise.
The lambs will start to be born in August.
If we are not going to mules them we will need to do the work before the lambs are born to make sure they are not going to get fly blown.

It is a huge task, but one we can achieve with your help.
This year we expect to have approximately 3,500 lambs born.
To save these lambs and put in place all the requirements needed to keep them alive without mulesing will cost $50 (Australian Dollars) each lamb.
You help will provide you with a LIMITED EDITION GIFT CERTIFICATE with a photo of the lamb you have saved.
These certificates can be purchased with your online donation and can be used as gifts for family or friends anywhere in the world.
Your participation in saving a lamb is a practical way for you to make a difference to an Australian Merino Lamb.
Your help will not be forgotten.
We look forward to sending you your I Saved A Lamb gift certificate.