Hair of the dog

15 Sep, 2006 08:45 PM
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THE Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) has warned that dog hair in Merino wool could jeopardise growers' clips.

Dog hair contamination may seem trivial when compared to exotic sheep breeds and foreign object contamination but AWEX is taking dogs in shearing sheds very seriously.

According to AWEX chief executive officer Mark Grave, the AWEX industry code of practice has been under rigorous review. Recommendations for dogs in sheds will feature in the contamination section.

"Contamination is the biggest issue we are facing at the moment," Mr Grave said.

"No one is denying that dogs are a useful tool to growers.

"But it depends on how you work them and where they are kept."

Mr Grave said woolgrowers and shed staff should be mindful of dogs underneath wool tables or in wool bins.

Dogs in shearing sheds had been an issue of concern for the Stud Merino Breeders Association of WA (SMBAWA).

SMBAWA executive officer Susie Lindley said traditionally people were used to seeing dogs in and around the shed at shearing time.

"But times are changing and we have an obligation to the buyers of our wool to ensure it is presented in the best possible condition," Ms Lindley said.

"It is an area where we need to work with the woolclassers to change these traditional perceptions."

The AWEX draft codes of practice are open for public comment until October 1 and can be accessed online at www.awex.com.au.

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