Pain relief for mulesing of sheep

Pain relief must be administered to sheep undergoing mulesing

New provisions, requiring the provision of pain relief when mulesing sheep, come into effect on 1 July 2020.

Under Regulation 8(2) of the new Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (POCTA) Regulations 2019, a person must not mules a sheep unless the sheep is administered with a pain relief product that has been registered for use on sheep by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

Infringement notices and fines can be issued if sheep were to be mulesed without pain relief.

The full POCTA Regulations 2019 are available at

For the purposes of the Regulations the definition of mulesing has the same meaning as in the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Sheep.

If undertaken, mulesing should only be done as part of an integrated approach to flystrike management including crutching and shearing, good worm control, strategic use of chemicals, genetic selection of sheep and paddock grazing management.

The Code of Accepted Farming Practice for the Welfare of Sheep (Victoria, Revision Number 2) provides a technical guide for those using mulesing as part of a flystrike management program.

Page last updated: 18 May 2021