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Genetic alternatives to mulesing and tail docking in sheep: a review

James, P.J. (2006) Genetic alternatives to mulesing and tail docking in sheep: a review. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 46 (1). pp. 1-18.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/EA05100

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/

Abstract

A genetic solution to breech strike control is attractive, as it is potentially permanent, cumulative, would not involve increased use of chemicals and may ultimately reduce labour inputs. There appears to be significant opportunity to reduce the susceptibility of Merinos to breech strike by genetic means although it is unlikely that in the short term breeding alone will be able to confer the degree of protection provided by mulesing and tail docking. Breeding programmes that aim to replace surgical techniques of flystrike prevention could potentially: reduce breech wrinkle; increase the area of bare skin in the perineal area; reduce tail length and wool cover on and near the tail; increase shedding of breech wool; reduce susceptibility to internal parasites and diarrhoea; and increase immunological resistance to flystrike. The likely effectiveness of these approaches is reviewed and assessed here. Any breeding programme that seeks to replace surgical mulesing and tail docking will need to make sheep sufficiently resistant that the increased requirement for other strike management procedures remains within practically acceptable bounds and that levels of strike can be contained to ethically acceptable levels.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:© CSIRO.
Keywords:Flystrike; Lucilia cuprina; tail length; Australian merino sheep; body weight traits; fecal egg count; blowfly strike; fleece rot; nematode infection; southern Australia.
Subjects:Veterinary medicine > Diseases of special classes of animals > Sheep and goats
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary parasitology
Science > Biology > Genetics
Deposited On:23 Feb 2009 03:30
Last Modified:15 Jun 2011 23:48

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