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Shear Brilliance of UK Shearers

As we head into a winter of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, British Wool wishes to thank and congratulate the UK shearing community for their hard work and determination in shearing the UK flock under very different, and challenging circumstances this year.

When the country entered into the national lockdown measures at the end of March, this was only weeks away from the start of shearing in some areas of the country. In a ‘normal’ year there would be a number of overseas shearers visiting the UK for the shearing season but due to Covid-19 restrictions, the number able to travel this year was very low.

The UK shearing community therefore worked together in a national effort to get the UK flock shorn and protect animal welfare. British Wool worked with industry partners in developing a Shearing Register and a new industry checklist to ensure that shearers, wool handlers and farmers worked in partnership with practical measures put in place to allow shearing to continue whilst protecting everyone’s safety.

Jim Robertson, a sheep farmer from Dumfriesshire in Scotland and Chairman of British Wool said, “On behalf of all sheep farmers and British Wool, I thank our shearers for their hard work and commitment in ensuring a successful and efficient shearing season.  Under challenging circumstances, the way in which the shearing community and sheep farmers raised to the challenge is an excellent example of how working together and supporting each other to achieve a common goal benefits everyone.”

British Wool is the approved provider of shearing training in the UK with over 800 attending courses in 2019.  Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, courses were cancelled this year but British Wool are hopeful courses can resume once again next year.  At the request of the industry, British Wool provided online training aids including a downloadable poster ‘First Steps in Shearing’ and a shearing animation which reached over 327,000 people online and across various social media plaftorms.

Gareth Jones, Head of Producer Marketing at British Wool commented, “We are currently working on developing protocols and guidance that will hopefully enable courses to be held during the 2021 season.  Ensuring courses are held under Covid-19 guidelines are key in keeping everyone safe which is paramount for us all at British Wool.  We hope to be in a position to provide further details on the 2021 courses in January and remain committed in continuing to deliver a high standard of training to the next generation of shearers across the UK.”

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