Victoria is the only state to have introduced a legal requirement to provide any pain relief for lambs when mulesing (though not tail docking or castration).
During mulesing, which is usually done to avoid flystrike, a lamb is restrained and metal shears are used to cut away a large swathe of skin around their buttocks. ‘Tail docking’ usually occurs at the same time and cuts through the bone. Mulesing is already banned in New Zealand. Accepted animal welfare science — and common sense — makes it clear that the lamb would experience intense pain and distress during this process, and for several weeks afterwards as the large wound heals.
Cruel practices like this were established in another era. They only exist because of an outdated idea that some animals are friends, and others food (or wool, or both), with their ‘category’ determining their level of legal protection. This is despite the fact that all animals share the capacity to suffer.
It’s well past time for laws and industry practices to reflect science and community expectations about how animals are treated.
We wouldn’t do it to a dog. Why a lamb?