Providing market confidence

Freeze branded wool no longer non-mulesed on new NWD

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Liquid nitrogen procedure loses non-mulesed status on new NWD.

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AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said the new NWD endeavours to create clarity and provide the market with confidence.

AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said the new NWD endeavours to create clarity and provide the market with confidence.

The revised National Wool Declaration (NWD) featuring the altered identification of wool from sheep treated with liquid nitrogen has been released.

The NWD now allows wool from sheep that have undergone the freeze-branded process to be identified distinct from other non-mulesed wool.

It brings an end to an two-year debate surrounding AWEX's former position to maintain the NWD's definition for non-mulesed wool and mulesed wool.

Woolgrowers had been able to nominate wool from freeze branded sheep as non-mulesed on the NWD by ticking a 'NM' box.

The new NWD listed new definitions for mob status encompassing the breech modification processes, surgical mulesing and sheep freeze branding.

AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave said the review was complex and the AWEX board appreciated the frank feedback received from the organisations and individuals who contributed to the review.

"The new NWD endeavours to create clarity and provide the market with confidence," Mr Grave said.

"This is about transparency and making sure we have an informed market that buyers and users of our wool, our customers, have an informed market because they have different choices.

"In introducing one of the highest profile issues in the use of liquid nitrogen we have now got the ability to identify it as distinct from other non-mulesed wool.

"We don't know what that will mean, but the market will then decide. Having that information, they can choose to buy whatever wool that they want."

Managing director of Fox and Lillie wool brokers Jonathan Lillie said he supported the NWD changes and sees it as a step froward for the wool industry.

"It puts the industry on the front foot in regards to truth in labelling," Mr Lillie said.

"You have to have truth in labelling and that is the key to it - the client can make up their mind to what they do with it - it is very simple."

But WoolProducers Australia CEO Jo Hall said the new NWD could cause more confusion with the introduction of more categories.

"With more categories it is slightly more confusing and given it's a voluntary document we could see a dropping off of completion of the NWD," Ms Hall said.

"The precedence is there and I guess it's just human nature that if things look more complicated then there is less chance that people are going to take the time."

She said the WoolProducers board hasn't fully considered the final version that was received on Monday.

But in terms of their submission and what they had hoped for, Ms Hall said it doesn't align particularly well.

"We were adamant that liquid nitrogen was not mulesing and whilst the definitions and supporting explanations state that liquid nitrogen in non-mulesed, we would have liked to have seen that point stronger throughout the document," she said.

On the revised NWD the mob status definition options for growers are:

NM: No sheep in this mob have been mulesed

LA: Sheep in this mob have been treated with liquid nitrogen# with an analgesic product registered by APVMA

LN: Sheep in this mob have been treated with liquid nitrogen# without use of an analgesic product registered by APVMA

AA: Sheep in this mob have been mulesed and treated with an analgesic and or analgesic product registered by APVMA

M: Sheep in this mob have been mulesed without a registered analgesic and r anaesthetic product.

All declarations made after January 1, 2022 must be made by using the NWD V9.0 but NWD V8.0 or earlier received prior to January 1, 2022 will remain valid.

Mr Grave said in finalising the 2021 NWD review, the AWEX board is announcing that the next review will be conducted in two years, and it will consider the potential of removing CM (ceased mulesing).

More to come

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