It seems that a rare sheep mutation may spell the end for “mulesing.” We chatted about this recently at the Tapestry Craft Stitch and Bitch. Mulesing is the process by which the wool and skin is physically torn off a sheep’s bum to prevent something known as “fly rot,” which is really gross and involves flies laying eggs in the sheep’s skin. So, yeah, mulesing is pretty harsh, but so’s having maggots breeding in living flesh, right? (As the resident dumb American, I wondered aloud to the group why the sheep would have this difficulty, as it seems like something that evolution would’ve selected against. Turns out it’s not the sheep’s fault; it’s because Australia has entirely the wrong climate to raise them. It’s hot and humid and infested with big nasty flies. So now you know.) Anyway, it’s good to know that there may be a genetic way around the issue. PETA has been agitating for some time for international wool buyers to boycott Aussie wool, and it’d be a shame to let the local industry die out over something that maybe can be fixed.

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