Sheep shearing
Sheep shearers insist they could be Olympians. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Sheep shearing should be an event at the London Olympics Games.

So says a farmers group in New Zealand, a country famed for its loved of the livestock. The farmers have claimed that shearing sheep is an athletic sport worthy of inclusion in the games.

Federated Farmers of New Zealand cited the "athleticism" of two world champion sheep shearers, Ivan Scott and Kerri-Jo Te Huia, as proof that livestock hairdressers could win Olympic medals.

Scott holds the men's world title for the eight-hour solo sheep shearing category, having shorn 749 lambs in that time.

Te Huia is the female champion in the same category, having de-furred 507 lambs in eight hours.

"Shearers are not only an integral part of the wool's value chain, their skill in producing high-quality fleeces reminds our consumers that wool is not only natural, it is also the product of true craftsmanship and skill," said Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers' chairperson.

"I can also testify to the physical effort shearing takes. People like Ivan Scott, Kerri-Jo Te Huia and our world championship team are athletes who take it to another level.

"Time has come to elevate shearing's sporting status to the ultimate world stage. One way would be to make shearing a demonstration sport at a Commonwealth Games if not the Olympics itself."

The prestigious World Shearing Championships are due to take place in March in New Zealand.