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Emily King
Manager, Woolgrower Education & Capacity Building
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National Wool Declaration (NWD) – the industry perspective

Posted by Bestprac on Aug 06 2010

By Liz Guerin

At a time when the issue of mulesing is still causing debate, and the wool supply chain is demanding information on the mulesing status of wool, the National Wool Declaration (NWD) is seen as a positive initiative that all sections of the industry should embrace.

Introduced in 2008, the NWD was developed in consultation with industry stakeholders to identify wool with a dark fibre risk, and to collect information on chemical use and mulesing status. Designed to accompany wool being sold through the auction system, the NWD allows growers to identify whether their sheep are mulesed, if pain relief treatments were used during the mulesing procedure, if wool comes from non-mulesed sheep, or whether their property has ceased mulesing altogether. The declaration enables woolgrowers to promote to users the evolving changes in their animal welfare practices.

However, Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) report that only a small proportion (38 percent) of auction bales are being declared.

Of the declared wool 10.2 pc (7861.44 tonnes) was non-mulesed, 6.7pc (5134.9 tonnes) ceased mulesed and 13.8pc (10654.7t) pain relief.

Amid pressure from the United States retail and trade association, and the British Retail Consortium to make the NWD mandatory, AWEX Chief Executive, Mr Mark Grave, has stated that it is critical that usage of the NWD increases.

“This piece of information (in the NWD) is the missing link to give buyers greater confidence in what they are buying. We understand how sensitive the (mulesing) issue is and there are markets out there that are developing,” he said. “We don’t want anyone to have a reason not be buying Australian wool.”

The NWD is designed to recognise customer requests for increased information and transparency. The NWD offers choice to customers who have indicated that they are seeking wool from farms that no longer mules, most importantly the NWD gives confidence to retailers that the industry is responding to their demand for change.
If non-mulesed wool is not declared, it is not possible to develop a market for the product or report any premiums that exist. Evidence of price premiums for non-mulesed wool are starting to emerge, however there needs to be an increased supply of declared non-mulesed wool so that AWEX can accurately report premiums that exist.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) together with AWEX continues to support the use of the NWD so that the wool industry are unified and embracing change, which goes a long way to ensuring that customers stay with wool.

Further information about the NWD can be obtained at the following sites:

Last changed: Feb 07 2012



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