Animal Care & Welfare

Farmers and ranchers who raise sheep in the United States take great pride in the care they provide for their animals and do not condone or defend mistreatment or abuse of sheep either intentionally or unintentionally. These principles hold true for all management practices, including the shearing of sheep — a necessary process that is of great benefit to the animals’ own welfare. Sheep must be shorn regularly to prevent excess wool from interfering with their bodies’ ability to thermo-regulate. Excessive wool coats also make the sheep more vulnerable to becoming immobilized by physical obstacles in the environment and more susceptible to predator and parasite attacks. Annual shearings using approved, standardized handling techniques are designed for the comfort and wellbeing of the sheep. Shearing generally takes place before the lambing season in order to aid in lamb health and survival. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), along with its member farmers and ranchers, promote and encourage the training of proper sheep handling and shearing. ASI provides its members with the Sheep Care Guide, an educational document for proper care, handling and management of sheep as an industry standard for sheep care. ASI also sponsors training for sheep shearers and provides educational material on proper shearing techniques.