‘I was helping pack away wool when I was about five’

Loic Leygonie French Sheep Shearer Champion
Loïc in action whilst competing at the 6 nations shearing championships, which he won

Jane Hanks speaks to a top sheep shearer about the challenges of making a living in the trade and the thrill of competition

Loïc Leygonie from Cuzance near Souillac, Lot, is the French sheep shearing champion 2018 and part of the France team which won the 6 Nations Sheep Shearing competition held this year at Mayrac, Lot.

The competition, like its rugby equivalent, is held every year between France, Scotland, Wales, England, Northern and Southern Ireland.

Most often Scotland and Wales are the champions but this year Loïc Leygonie was thrilled that his country won, proof, he says, that they are improving.

The 26-year-old earns his living as a professional sheep shearer, a job he is passionate about and he explained why, in this day and age, when very few sheep are raised for their wool in France, his job is still important:

It is really for the well-being of the reproductive ewes, which are bred for the lambs raised for meat and kept for several years. They have to be sheared once a year in a season which can stretch from January to August because of the heat in summer and the parasites which could get into the wool.

If we didn’t cut off their fleeces their wool would continue to grow and it would be dangerous for them. ...

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