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Pizzle dropping

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Ratification Date: 04 Sep 2017

Policy

Pizzle dropping must not be performed on sheep.

Background

Pizzle dropping is a surgical procedure performed on wether lambs and weaners (under 12 months of age).

The skin between the prepuce and the abdomen is severed to allow the prepuce to hang below the wool on the belly region. Anecdotally it was used to reduce the incidence of pizzle rot and fly strike.

Some important points to note are:

  • The procedure is undertaken to reduce wool wetting and the incidence of pizzle rot (balanoposthitis — inflammation of the prepuce and penis of castrated sheep).
  • Pizzle rot and wet wool predispose sheep to fly strike.
  • Welfare risks associated with the procedure include pain and the risk of surgical damage if the procedure is performed incorrectly.
  • No evidence-based trials have provided valid data to support the procedure.
  • Pizzle dropping is not permitted under the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Sheep (S5.7)

Other relevant policies and position statements

Surgical alteration to the natural state of animals

Date of ratification by AVA Board 27 July 2012

Reviewed 4 September 2017