We’d be nothing without our sheep! Literally…we’d just be Inc.!
Seriously though, we’re protective about our sheep and their welfare is extremely important to us. We only work with Sheep Stations that are ZQ certified, meaning they conform to the highest animal welfare standards worldwide.
All the sheep are free to roam the vast properties they inhabit, and each station must offer five basic freedoms to the sheep: free to live naturally, free from thirst, free from discomfort, free from distress and free from disease. Ensuring all the sheep are humanely treated, well fed, live naturally and have healthy lives, and are not subjected to mulesing. You can read more information about animal welfare here.
We have a strict no mulesing policy, but in any case, mulesing is also prohibited in New Zealand.
The sheep’s fibre is harvested through a process called shearing. Which is a bit like getting a 'number 4' haircut. Shearers are highly skilled people and pride themselves on the careful handling of the sheep. They leave a good covering of wool on the sheep, to keep them warm.
Machine shears are the most popular tool for shearing, as they are fast and efficient, for minimal stress on the animal. Prior to shearing commencing, the farmers work with their shearing contractors and team to ensure that appropriate planning and preparation has taken place to minimise stress. Sheep have been bred for thousands of years to grow wool, therefore shearing is not just about harvesting wool - it's also about keeping the animals comfortable, relieving them from having to endure the hot summer months with a heavy fleece.
All our farms are third party audited, including random audits during the shearing season to ensure the high standard of animal welfare is maintained.