‘40% of Irish sheep kill is made up of foreign lambs’ – ICSA

It has been claimed by a sheep farmers’ lobby group that Irish sheep processors’ current kill at present is “made up of 40% foreign lambs”.

Chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA), Séan McNamara, said: “At present the ICSA has reason to believe the current sheep kill is made up of 40% foreign lambs.”

McNamara’s comments come in the aftermath of a protest by the organisation which was held on Monday, May 20, at Irish Country Meats (ICM), Camolin, Co. Wexford.

The aim of the protest was to highlight to the powers that be that processors – across the board – are “continuing to hammer sheep farmers with savage price cuts”.

Meanwhile, McNamara told AgriLand that while a certain amount of imported lamb is required to meet export demands, the numbers coming in now “are serving to keep the prices paid to Irish farmers at rock bottom”.

He subsequently called on meat processors to “stop giving preference” to lambs from the north and elsewhere at the expense of Irish lambs.

“It’s disgraceful to see Irish lambs being turned away because lairages are full of imported lambs,” he remarked.

“They have lambs available on their doorsteps, yet preference is being given to truckloads of foreign lambs every day of the week,” he said.

“It’s a shameful tactic and a shocking way to treat a sector that operates on such slim margins.”

McNamara then pointed to the price for spring lamb and how it has crashed below €5.50/kg.

“Sheep farmers are facing enormous difficulties and ICSA intends to keep up the pressure to have these cuts reversed; officials from the association will be meeting with several processors in the coming days,” he concluded.