To provide the market with more clarity and confidence, the Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) has published a revised National Wool Declaration (NWD). Key changes in the updated release relate to definitions surrounding the practice of mulesing, which has been criticized for decades for animal welfare reasons. The 2019 edition of the NWD proved to be ambivalent, as alternative breech modification techniques such as freeze branding could qualify as “non-mulesed”. To provide more transparency for wool buyers, the NWD defines new categories for such alternatives.
The function of the NWD is to enable woolgrowers to promote their animal welfare practices (i.e. “Mulesing Status”) and the Dark and Medullated Fibre Risk (DMFR) of their wool to wool exporters, processors and retailers. The NWD is the standardized declaration method for Australia and all breeds of sheep. Once a woolgrower has completed the NWD, the contents are converted by the wool handling agent into a recognized Mulesing Status and/or DMFR code for inclusion in sale catalogs and test certificates.