Rising to speak in support of an amendment, Abigail advocated for breeding programs that reduce flystrike susceptibility in sheep and in support of stronger animal protection laws.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (11:51:54): I add the support of The Greens to the Cruelty to Animals Amendment (Restrictions on Stock Animal Procedures) Bill 2019 and thank the Animal Justice Party for introducing it. There is no doubt that sheep suffer a slow and painful death from flystrike. However, mulesing is also an extraordinarily painful experience for sheep, as we have heard today from the Hon. Emma Hurst, particularly when it comes without pain relief. Currently there are no permanent alternatives to mulesing that do not cause pain for the animal. There is no consensus on whether the application of liquid nitrogen to freeze burn the flystrike susceptible area off causes significantly less pain.
The only permanent and humane solution is breeding programs that reduce flystrike susceptibility. That has been happening here and in other countries. New Zealand banned mulesing in 2018, albeit with a longer phase out plan. While we have concerns that an implementation period of less than two years before mulesing becomes a criminal offence will make it difficult for industry to conduct the breeding programs necessary to eliminate flystrike, on balance we do not view it as impossible and we will support the two-year period, while also being open to amendments on that. We thank the Opposition for its suggestion of a committee inquiry to explore the issue further. The Greens agree that would be helpful and we also support that.