Information for consumers about British Wool Products

Animal Welfare & Sheep Shearing

British Wool is the approved provider for sheep shearing and wool handling training in the UK, training more than 800 people across the country every year. Our courses are led by a team of registered instructors, highly experienced in this traditional rural skill. Browse our resources for more information about sheep, shearing and animal welfare, and read our animal welfare statement

"It's very important that sheep are sheared. One of the biggest issues we have in the UK is flystrike. Flies can lay their eggs in any dirty areas of the fleece, which then hatch into maggots which can eat through the skin. It's a very nasty disease."

Peter Wright, Channel 5's The Yorkshire Vet

"We shear for the benefit of the sheep. If we didn't take the wool off, we'd have lots of problems with blowfly, laying their eggs in the back end and even the shoulders of the sheep. These eggs would hatch into maggots, which literally eat the sheep alive. "

Gareth Wyn Jones, Sheep Farmer

"Adult sheep of breeds which have continuously growing wool should be shorn at least once every year, to help reduce the risk of external parasites and keep the animals comfortable."

The RSPCA

"Wearing a thick, heavy fleece during warm summer months is uncomfortable and stressful for sheep. Shearing during the late spring/early summer months is ideal - there's enough wool growth to keep cool in the summer (and avoid sun burn) with a full fleece in the winter to keep warm."

Richard Schofield, British Wool Shearing Manager

"Farmers take their work very seriously. In my experience, living and working around Thirsk, the animals are extremely well looked after, to the highest standards of animal welfare. "

Peter Wright, Channel 5's The Yorkshire Vet

"In my experience, our standards of care make British farming the best in the world."

Peter Wright, Channel 5's The Yorkshire Vet

"We set the highest standards of practice on our training courses, and have an excellent team of trainers throughout the country. Our trainers know everything there is to know about shearing, and we're proud to share this knowledge with the farming community."

Richard Schofield, British Wool Shearing Manager

"The sheep sector employs 34,000 people on farms and a further 111,405 jobs in allied industries. This contributes a huge £291.4m to employment."

National Sheep Association

"Long-lived pollutants, like carbon dioxide, persist in the atmosphere, building up over centuries. The CO2 created by burning coal in the 18th century is still affecting the climate today. Short-lived pollutants, like methane, disappear within a few years. Their effect on the climate is important, but very different from that of CO2: yet many current policies treat them all as ‘equivalent’."

Dr Michelle Cain, the Oxford Martin Programme on Climate Pollutants

Peter Wright, The Yorkshire Vets - why do sheep need shearing?

Why do we need to shear sheep?

Richard Schofield, Shearing Manager - British Wool's approach to training

Livestock and climate change

Gareth Wyn Jones, Sheep Farmer - why do sheep need shearing?

Peter Wright, The Yorkshire Vets - working with sheep farmers