Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sheep News: Scientists search for bare-bum sheep gene

All this talk about mulesing lately...
In the future cutting-edge genetic engineering may replace cutting-ass technology called mulesing. Both designed to prevent flystrike with sheep.

Scientists are hoping to identify the gene or genes which resulted in "bare-bum" sheep on a South Australian merino stud, with hopes it can be replicated across the industry.

The genetic mutation on the Eyre Peninsula resulted in a ram that was completely bare in the crutch and hind leg area.

Professor Phil Hynd from the University of Adelaide says he has no doubts that genetics is the answer to the ethical dilemma of mulesing sheep.

"We want to get away from chemical use as much as possible in the sheep industry," he said.

"The chemical mulesing that we're developing at Adelaide University with Australian Wool Innovation is, as I see it, a stop-gap measure.

"When mulesing's banned in 2009, we need something to replace it."

Professor Hynd says the aim now is to identify the bare-bum gene and to see if it is present in other sheep flocks.

"Genetic solutions are always slow, even with markers, but we would hope that if this is a dominant gene or at least a small cluster of genes that we can identify, we should be able to start making big impacts on the industry over a 10 to 15 year period," he said.

Article found at ABC News Online - Sci Tech News 21/03/2005 Scientists search for bare-bum sheep gene

Monday, March 21, 2005

Mulesing along?

Every coin has two sides (well, three actually for most of them...).
I reported about the horrible practice of mulesing before.

Sir Rantzalot notified me of the article Animal welfare in the Australian wool industry of the Australian Wool industry. Their side of the story.

You can compare it with the agitated reactions to Canadian people killing baby seals for their fur. Most of those hunters do it because they do not have an alternative. European citizens protest against it, but the fact is, most of the hunters used to be fishermen. Not enough fish for them left, because European (!) trawlers are fishing too much in their waters.

Just like that: mulesing is horrible, but 3 million sheep dieing each year of flystrike also... So let's hope they will find a good alternative for mulesing quickly.

Shamy sheepy

I've been not that active with blogging lately. Shame on me. Indeed.
I promissed photo's from my latest trips. They still have to come.

Oooh. The horror, the shame.

I will try to better my life and be as fluffy and blogging as I used to be.