NSA reminds industry to uphold highest standards as shearing season begins

As the shearing season begins across the UK, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is reminding farmers and contractors to do their bit to uphold industry standards and protect its reputation.

Following the videos released by ‘animals rights’ organisation PETA last autumn, NSA joined with industry partners to produce a practical and coherent set of guidelines for anyone working in the shearing shed, to ensure the industry presents itself in an acceptable light.

The 29-point list of guidelines aims to make the process stress-free for both the people and animals involved.

Tips include ensuring sheep are sheared on an empty stomach and carrying out checks to make sure your contractor has a good reputation and is adequately trained.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “It is absolutely vital that all involved in shearing, and indeed any sheep handling activity, ensure they are working at the highest possible standard.

While we know that sheep welfare is improved by shearing as the weather warms, these organisations espouse the message that we are simply doing it for profit and care not a jot for the welfare of the sheep.

“These animal rights campaigning groups will take any opportunity to attack our industry and even small slip-ups, observed by the wrong person, can be extremely damaging and time consuming to deal with. Our best line of defence is to limit their opportunities.”

He added: “For those more adventurous souls it may even be worth inviting local people in to watch – and I’d put money on far more people being impressed than concerned.”

The full list of guidelines can be found at: nationalsheep.org.uk/policy-work/26182/joint-industry-guidance-for-shearing/.