I like what my fellow WP blogger, ScienceLens, says about John Macarthur and the birth of the Australian wool industry. When I was at the National Sheep Association’s Sheep Breeders’ Round Table it was inspiring to hear Aussie experts. They benefit from economies of scale that British farmers can only dream of.
One of those experts said that mulesing is no longer being done. The Merino, which produces wonderfully soft wool, is a key breed in the Australian industry. But it has wrinkly skin making it particularly prone to flystrike. That’s why Aussie sheep get mulesed and it’s nasty. Don’t read this if squeamish. I’m disappointed to see on that website that mulesing still goes on. On the other hand, if you want to keep wool-heavy sheep in a warm place, they’re at risk of flystrike and that’s nasty too.
Merino wool is gorgeous. I myself have several merino jumpers. They’re a guilty pleasure because I know how the sheep got hurt. But I know too that the wool industry is hugely important to the Australian economy. John and Elizabeth Macarthur left a fine legacy of sheep farming.