A mandatory national wool declaration (NWD) has been ruled out as part of Australian Wool Exchange’s (AWEX) latest NWD review.
AWEX has released the findings to the review, which was launched July 2016 and received nine submissions, with clarity of the declaration’s “grey areas” one of the major changes.
The declaration was introduced in 2008 to identify woolgrowers’ animal welfare practices in the wake of concern about mulesing.
While the Ceased Mulesing (CM) category will remain, due to its commercial support from buyers, wording has been clarified which prohibits the inclusion of purchased mulesed sheep.
“We want it to be clear,” AWEX chief executive Mark Grave said.
“We don’t want any ambiguity which was part of that consideration.
“If it is simple to use, simple to understand then the uptake potentially should be greater.”
CM has now been defined as wool from sheep where mulesing has ceased on the property.
“No lambs born on this property in the last 12 months have been mulesed,” the report states.
“No purchased sheep are mulesed.”
AWEX released a summary of the review’s 12 key recommendations, which include and extension campaign and the appointed an additional On Farm Inspector.
In total, 225 properties using NWD are audited annually, which are mainly targeted to eastern coasts states due to the higher proportion of reporting of non-mulesed (NM) and CM.
“The declaration rate overall is 60.6pc, when we started it was about 37pc of eligible wool,” Mr Grave said.
“Over the past two years, the use of brokers has been key to this (increased uptake).
“In Victoria and Tasmania, over 70pc (of eligible wool) is declared.”
However, increasing that number is now a major focus.
Buyer testimonials will now be included, as well as further analysis of potential price differentials, as part of the new communication strategy.
AWEX will continue to monitor new pain relief products in the market place, which Mr Grave said could consider whether in the future the Pain Relief category needed to identify pre or post-operative use of pain relief.
“AWEX regularly receives requests from exporters and retailers seeking certificates validating the declared mulesing status of their purchases” Mr Grave said.
“These requests have grown significantly over the past two years as have the international inquiries regarding the NWD.”
Submissions were received from Italian Wool Trade Association, industry organisations, growers and individual companies, which Mr Grave said indicated the global interest in the declaration.