Avington is proud to be the first wool-growing property in Australia to be certified under the international sheep and wool welfare program, the Responsible Wool Standard.
Our position on ethical farming and animal welfare is paramount. We commit to ethical farming principles and don't mules our sheep. It can best be seen how Avington conforms to ethical farming practices by exploring four key areas:
Animal welfare guidelines and standards
In committing to animal welfare Avington has embraced a number of industry standards and guidelines.
International Wool Textile Organisation (IWTO) is the recognised global authority for standards in the wool textile industry.
The Five Freedoms is an internationally renowned set of principles for animal welfare. These principles are used as the basis for the actions for professional groups, including veterinarians and have been adopted by representative groups internationally, including the World Organisation for Animal Health and the RSPCA.
National standards set by the Australian Government reinforcing Australia’s international leadership in livestock welfare.
Avington ceased mulesing in 2011 and continues to be a leading Australian advocate for non-mulesed and ethical farming practices. The successful prevention of fly-strike without mulesing is proof of Avington’s high standards of breeding fly-strike resistant sheep, farm management, rigorous supervision of stock and the successful implementation of ethical farming practices.
Avington’s deserved reputation as industry leaders is largely due to thorough data collection used to continually assess and improve all processes along the way. Nothing is left to chance.
Detailed records are maintained of all stock movements, the use of chemicals on livestock and pasture, regular weight recording of young sheep, pasture assessment and an inventory of resources.
A full history of each animal starts with the Electronic Identification Device (EID) in the ear of every sheep paired with a unique visual ear tag. Whenever the sheep are weighed, classed, shorn or handled in any way, the data collected is linked to the EID and uploaded to the Avington data base.
A nutritionist visits the property twice yearly and regularly consults with farm management staff. Detailed assessments of pasture availability and feed value are carried out to ensure the sheep nutritional requirements are met. The correct supplementation of pasture with hay and grain at certain times of the year is planned.
Soil and plant tissue tests are collected annually and reviewed with our consultant agronomist before any fertiliser inputs are applied.
Avington has used both artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET) for the past 20 years to rapidly increase the quality of the genetics in its stud and commercial flocks.
AI and ET ewes are lambed in large covered yards to maximise the success rate of lambing. This also ensures lambs can be matched with ewes accurately to fast track genetic development.
The focus since 2004 has been on developing poll genetics and since the DNA test has been available all stud ewes and rams have been tested to identify PP gene carriers. This allows ram buyers to rapidly increase the proportion of poll sheep within their own flocks.