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

Following the videos released by animals rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals last autumn, industry partners came together to produce a practical and coherent set of guidelines for anyone working in the shearing shed.

The shearing guidelines were produced by NSA, NAAC, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland, NFU, FUW and British Wool.

They urge farmers and shearing contractors to work together and ensure sheep are handled appropriately to avoid stress and injury during the shearing process.

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.

“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 guidelines