Mulesing is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech (buttocks) of a sheep to prevent flystrike (myiasis). The wool around the buttocks can retain feces and urine, which attracts flies. The scar tissue that grows over the wound does not grow wool, so is less likely to attract the flies that cause flystrike.
Mulesing is obviously painful for sheep, and often carried out without anaesthetics or painkillers. Typically, it is argued that flystrike can cause a painful and agonising death, so a short experience of pain is the better option for sheep. Also, farmers argue that mulesing is the only practice that can prevent flystrike.
Are there ethical alternatives to mulesing? Are they practical? An ethical alternative would mean at the absolute minimum that sheep are effectively protected from flystrike, and don't suffer pain during the treatment.