An interesting misunderstanding arose on Facebook this week which we thought would be worth noting here on the site, given that our first batch of Cambrian Mountains Wool is defined as a ‘Fine Mule’ from Welsh Mule sheep.
In the UK, the term ‘Mule’ in the sheep world refers to a cross breed. With thanks to Wikipedia who have defined our Mule much more succinctly than we might:
In sheep farming, the term Mule is used to refer to a cross between a upland ram (usually a Bluefaced Leicester) and a purebred upland (or hill) ewe. The production of such mule ewes is a widely used breeding management system which offers several advantages to the farmer.
However, when we posted to Facebook about the 2015 challenge, one reader from outside of the UK expressed this view:
Don’t like the idea of using mulesed wool
We hadn’t cottoned on that the term ‘mule’ in the wider sheep world could be taken to mean the practice exercised on some farms in Australia of ‘mulesing’ Merino sheep. A surgical procedure involving the trimming of skin from a Merino lamb is used to help in the fight against flystrike. We will spare you the details as it might be breakfast time and you probably haven’t come here expecting this kind of discussion, but if you want to know more, this article from the RSPCA of Australia offers a reasonably balanced explanation.
This is not a common practice elsewhere, and certainly not a common practice in the UK.
We’d like to say loudly and clearly:
Our Welsh mules will not have not been mulesed
Though we cannot promise that they have not been docked.