Sheep farmer burns fleeces in protest over low wool prices

Fleeces from 260 sheep, collectively worth just £30 or less, have been destroyed after their owner set fire to them because the cost involved in selling the wool was more than its value.

Jade Bett, 43, runs a flock of British Berrichon du Cher, Blue Texels and Dutch Spotted Sheep in Yarburgh, Lincolnshire.

With wool currently worth 87p/kg or less to farmers, Ms Bett said she would struggle to make £30 from her flock’s fleeces after she had paid for transport costs.

See also: Wool prices increase by up to 20p/kg at auction

British Wool markets wool on behalf of its farmer members, but she said the expense involved in getting her fleeces to one its centres made it unviable.

The award-winning sheep farmer had resorted to burning them to cut down on expenses and had “no economic way” of disposing of them responsibly.

She called for a better system for the use of wool in the UK – despite a recent resurgence that is often restricted to high-end and niche products.

A spokesperson for British Wool said that only a very small percentage of the wool produced in the UK gets burned or disposed of on farm.

Most of it is marketed via British Wool for use in a wide range of products across the world.

“Wool prices are increasing and we have seen a 25% increase in our auction prices since September,” said a spokesperson.

“We work with many farmers who use their own wool to produce amazing products and would always encourage and support this kind of entrepreneurial spirit.”

The organisation urged any farmers who were contemplating burning their wool to contact them.

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