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Animal welfare and sheep shearing

Given the current climate and the emergence of animal rights movements, it’s important to remember that at Segard Masurel, animals and animal welfare are an integral part of our business.

Each spring, sheep shearing is an essential moment in the life of the animal and that of the farmer. It’s also a necessary step in checking the sheep’s good health and well-being. Farmed animals have recognised rights and needs, and certain labels guarantee that these rights and their well-being are respected.

Segard Masurel sheep shearing

The concept of welfare and the 5 fundamental individual freedoms


First published in 1979 by the UK Farm Animal Welfare Council, these 5 freedoms have since been incorporated into the codes of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and are now recognised worldwide.


These 5 fundamental freedoms govern the welfare of animals when they are under human care:

1 – Not to suffer from hunger or thirst

2 – Not to experience fear or distress

3 – Freedom from discomfort, physical and/or thermal stress

4 – Freedom from pain, injury or disease

5 – To be able to express the natural behaviours of their species.

Strict compliance with these 5 freedoms ensures that the animal lives in an environment that meets its needs.

Sheep shearing, a necessary step 

Shearing sheep, at least once a year, ensures the animal’s good health and well-being.

Wool fibres grow continuously, just like our hair. Shearing is therefore essential to relieve the animal of this fleece and lighten its load in preparation for hot summer weather.

Sheep are prone to parasitic infections such as mange, larvae and lice. After sheep shearing, the farmer can check for any skin diseases and treat them if necessary.

– Monitor the animal’s weight curve.

Sheep shearing can be a source of stress for the animal if certain practices are not followed and certain measures put in place.

Segard Masurel sheep shearing
Abelusi sheep shearing

The Abelusi® label, a guarantee of animal welfare

Several labels, through criteria defined in their certification standard, commit breeders to practices that respect animal welfare.

At Segard Masurel, we know our farmers personally, and as part of our Abelusi® label, they commit to respecting the 5 fundamental freedoms of animals.

In 2017, when writing our Abelusi® standard, we defined, on the basis of the 5 fundamental animal freedoms, 28 criteria relating to sheep farming practices to guarantee their welfare. At the same time, we have defined a list of specific criteria to be respected at the time of sheep shearing, an essential recurring stage in a sheep’s life, comprising 18 other criteria.

Our teams in the field ensure that farmers comply with these criteria and practices, guaranteeing the animal’s well-being not only in their day-to-day lives but also at the time of shearing.

At Segard Masurel, we are convinced that we must represent the world of the wool industry as a true spokesperson for the animal cause. That’s why animal welfare is an integral part of our Abelusi® label, which offers consumers a wool that certifies the rearing of happy, healthy and well-treated sheep.

However, the responsibility of the breeders that Segard Masurel guarantees must be a collective and constructive commitment by all the parties involved – manufacturers, textile brands and consumers – to achieve lasting improvements.

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