Department slammed over spring sheep inspections

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been called upon to put a stop to sheep inspections at this time of year by Sinn Fein agriculture spokesperson Martin Kenny.

Deputy Kenny said: “I have being contacted by angry farmers who have been selected for sheep inspections and are being forced to gather all their sheep – both on lowlands and the mountains – and pen them up for the department to inspect them.

“Surely, the minister and his departmental officials know that we are heading into lambing season and sheep are heavily pregnant and vulnerable at this time of year.

“As we are all aware, we have had severe weather over the last number of weeks with a lot of snow on mountains especially.

This is causing farmers problems in battling inclement weather conditions in order to gather sheep off the mountains with some farmers only getting a couple of days’ notice to have their sheep gathered.

The spokesperson also noted that the stress brought on by this could cause serious problems in sheep.

“I understand that farm inspections are part of the department’s remit, but now is not the time to be inspecting heavily pregnant sheep.

The minister and his department must use some common sense and stop these inspections until lambing season is over,” Kenny concluded.