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Market Transparency

Inspecting wool samples.

The Australian wool industry, through the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) introduced the National Wool Declaration (NWD) program as a means for woolgrowers to document their flystrike control practices through the wool selling system.

Woolgrowers can declare their wool as Non-Mulesed (NM - all sheep in the mob were not mulesed), Ceased Mulesing (CM - wool from sheep where the property no longer practices mulesing and does not intend to mules in the future) or Pain Relief treated (PR - all sheep in the mob were mulesed using a registered Pain Relief product).

The NWD creates transparency and choice in the marketplace for retailers and suppliers wanting to source these "welfare friendly" types of wool.

Sixty percent of Australian wool sold through auction is currently declared through the NWD. This proportion is increasing as more woolgrowers declare their wool through the NWD.

Putting this into context, the volume of "welfare friendly" Australian wool declared through the NWD is greater than the combined total fine wool production of South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand and Uruguay.

More information on the NWD and the current volume of Australian wool declared is available on the AWEX website.

AWI encourages retailers and brands seeking "welfare-friendly" wool to select from the non mulesed, ceased mulesing and pain relief categories, as declared on the NWD. This sends important market signals to woolgrowers to declare their wool, and to the Australian wool industry about demand for these types of wool.

Assurance Program

In September 2010, AWEX developed an on-farm audit program for the NWD - the NWD Integrity Program (PDF 1.22Mb). This program is designed to:

  1. Establish the accuracy and veracity of Non Mulesed, Ceased Mulesing and Mulesed with Pain Relief NWD declarations.
  2. Progressively report to the pipeline the aggregated outcomes of the NWD Integrity Program.
  3. In the event of a non-compliance, establish how this occurred and implement corrective actions including education to prevent re-occurrence.

The Integrity Program supports the NWD by helping ensure that buyers have confidence in the declarations made.

Commitment to Stakeholders

Despite the passing of the original 2010 target date to end mulesing, the wool industry continues its strong progress in addressing welfare concerns. Many woolgrowers have already replaced the traditional procedure with welfare-improved practices.

AWI works inclusively with stakeholders on the industry's comprehensive and continuing research, development and breeding program. The stakeholders are animal welfare groups; genetic and welfare scientific advisers; and the Australian sheep Veterinary community.

Progress is regularly reviewed - twice yearly by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and annually by an independent panel of genetic experts.

Twice a year, AWI reports progress to international retailers and the supply chain. AWI is committed to providing independent and transparent progress reports to these stakeholders.

The latest results of research programs are publicly available including through the links on this website.

Further Information

Click on the links below to read or download: