Australia is the world’s largest wool exporter. The most commonly raised sheep in that country are merinos, who are specifically bred to have wrinkly skin, which means more wool per animal. But the wrinkles hold moisture, and attracted to the moisture, flies lay eggs in the folds of the skin. The hatched maggots can eat the sheep alive.
To prevent “flystrike,” Australian wool producers perform a barbaric procedure called “mulesing,” in which they force live sheep onto their backs, restrain their legs between metal bars, and, often without any painkillers, carve huge chunks of skin away from the animals’ backsides. The procedure is terribly painful.
Mulesing is a crude attempt to create smoother skin that won’t collect moisture, but the exposed, bloody wounds often become infected, and sheep can still experience slow, agonizing deaths from flystrike.
Not only is mutilating sheep cruel, it’s also ineffective. Better husbandry is the answer, not mutilating animals. Sheep can be spared maggot infestation through humane methods such as diet regulation, applying an anti-parasitic spray, and simply breeding types of sheep who are better suited for the Australian climate.
How to go vegan: https://how-to-go-vegan.peta.org/
PETA Saves: https://spotlight.peta.org/petasaves/