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Global Sheep Forum
 

Global Sheep Producers Forum Purpose and Principles
 
Statement of purpose
 

The Global Sheep Producers Forum (GSPF) aims to provide a common voice for the global sheep
community that reflects our collective vision of the future sustainability of the sector. The GSPF
strives to foster global collaboration in order to develop evidenced and united positions and
collective actions that address the shared challenges and opportunities facing those in the sheep
industry irrespective of global boundaries.

Principles
 

The guiding principles for the setting of goals are that they must be:

ADAPTABLE

Sheep producers around the world farm in different climatic conditions and have established practices to manage both their animals and the environment. These goals will recognise these differences and provide producers the flexibility to meet the goals in ways that work for their conditions.

TRUSTWORTHY

While recognising the need for adaptability to achieve these goals in different ways, the goals must demonstrate that they are in effective in meeting their stated purpose. Global consumers and the public must be able to trust that these goals will continue to be effective in verifying that sheep production is sustainable and is a responsible source of food and fibre.

AMBITIOUS

The goals must demonstrate the shared ambition of all members to continue improving the global sheep industry. We want the sheep industry to be valued by consumers and the public as an important and responsible partner in the global food and fibre system. Producers should be proud to farm sheep and be confident that their industry has a bright future based on sound and progressive credentials.

COLLABORATIVE

The Sheep Producers Forum aims to bring sheep producers from around the world together to work together on improving and demonstrating that sheep production is environmentally and animal welfare friendly. We will share ideas, technologies and approaches to ensure this is recognised by global consumers.

The Goals
 

Members of the Global Sheep Producers Forum met to discuss how shared goals could be set that
incentivise better sheep production, foster collaboration and recognise success. 
These goals would recognise that sheep farming systems in each member country are unique but all
focus on achieving the same outcomes. The four areas for focus identified were:

 

  1. Environmental sustainability

  2. Animal health and welfare including the responsible use of veterinary products

  3. Contribution to the long-term wellbeing and resilience of local communities. 

  4. Capacity building – demonstrate the sheep sector has a bright future and is attractive to a diverse range of high calibre entrants.


Environmental Sustainability


Ensuring that sheep farming is a net contributor to environmental sustainability is important for the
health of our planet and for consumer confidence in our product. Environmental sustainability
requires sheep farms to demonstrate that they are working towards climate neutrality, improving on
farm biodiversity, and protecting natural resources such as soil health and water quality. Having
these all under one goal recognises that all natural systems are interlinked, and farmers must take a
holistic view of environmental sustainability.


Goal: All members can demonstrate that sheep farming enhances environmental sustainability
through country appropriate metrics. 


Animal Health and Welfare 


Sheep farmers care deeply about the health and welfare of their animals. This goal focuses on
ensuring that sheep are farmed in a way that optimises their health and welfare while using
veterinary products responsibly. This includes disease prevention and mitigation and adopting best
animal welfare practices and by allowing animals to exhibit natural behaviours. 


Goal: All members should be able to demonstrate that animal health and welfare practices on sheep
farms are accorded a high priority and are on a journey of constant improvement in line with new
science and technological developments.


Wellbeing and resilience of local communities 


Sheep farming is an important industry, providing employment and bringing economic returns to
many rural areas. Culturally, it has historical significance across the world, and remains part of local
communities’ heritage, traditions, and social identity.


Goal: All members should be able to demonstrate that sheep farming continues to contribute
culturally and socially to the long-term wellbeing and resilience of local communities. 

Future of the sheep farming industry


The sheep sector in its broadest sense is an attractive industry with a bright future that offers a wide
range of rewarding and exciting career and lifestyle prospects. In order to flourish, the sector needs
to continue to attract the best and the brightest candidates who will ensure the sectors success.


Goal: All members should provide multiple career entry points and support for the next generation
seeking to enter the sheep industry, and to work to ensure achievable opportunities for success.
This will demonstrate the sheep industry’s continued economic relevance and its ability to sustain a
healthy level of succession.

    Global Sheep Producers Sustainability Narrative
 

Sheep production across the world is based on providing consumers with high quality food and fibre products in a way that sustains the sheep industry and its families, supports rural communities, and improves the capacity of the environment to provide for the needs of future generations. Sustainability to sheep producers means family and new entrants, animal care, community outreach, environmental stewardship (and healthy pastures and rangeland) as well as providing economic returns.  Sheep producers care for the health and welfare of their animals, the land they graze, and nature’s resources so they can pass along their farms and ranches to
the next generation in a condition to be proud of.

 

Sheep producers around the world share the same core values and principles:

  1. Preserve the lifestyle of family farming and encourage the involvement of the next generation.

  2. Enhance the viability, productivity, and health of the environment, improve biodiversity, water quality and soil through careful stewardship of the natural environments that in turn supports sheep farming. 

  3. Embrace technology and management practices that improve productivity, support positive environmental outcomes and encourage sheep producers to adapt to changing environments.

  4. Continue supporting and contributing to the social, cultural, and economic viability of rural communities.

  5. Commitment to ensuring sheep are well looked after, are healthy, and have positive animal welfare experiences through good nutrition and best management practices.

  6. Manage the natural resources that are so integral to sheep productions around the world responsibly and ensure these essential resources are available for future generations of sheep producers.