Biosecurity is defined as management practices that protect the herd and farm personnel from the entry of disease agents and minimize the spread or adverse effects of diseases currently in the herd. For on- farm biosecurity to be successful everyone involved with production and product harvest must pay attention to their role in on-farm biosecurity, including the shearer. In addition, today’s consumers are demanding animal products of high quality and free of disease. The purpose of this bulletin is to help sheep shearers identify important biosecurity measures to keep sheep flocks they service healthy, economically productive, and safe.
For years sheep producers and shearers have been concerned about health and diseases of sheep for productivity and human health reasons. Sheep diseases can be brought onto the farm by people and equipment moving from one farm to another. The economic loss from infectious or chronic disease can be devastating to individual flocks or even an entire animal industry. Therefore, it is essential that sheep shearers or individuals moving between different flocks recognize different sheep diseases and prevention practices so they can protect other flocks and themselves.
Biosecurity for a sheep shearer obviously cannot function like an integrated or closed sheep operation. However, the same general considerations and actions should be observed to prevent the spread of diseases, especially when moving between flocks. Individuals shearing various flocks should develop a biosecurity plan that addresses the disease of the flocks serviced, the potential for spread, and the ability to implement preventative measures when moving between flocks. Producers and consumers demand for high quality, safe animal products require a well-defined and documented biosecurity plan. This biosecurity plan will allow shearers to inform producers of their safety measures while helping to ensure a safe, wholesome, and profitable lamb and wool products is produced.