The spirit of the Department of Agriculture’s new Clean Livestock Policy (CLP) for sheep is being ignored by processors in favour of cashing in at the expense of producers, ICSA Sheep Chairman, John Brooks, has said.

When creating the policy the Department envisaged that the vast majority of sheep presented for slaughter would fall into Category A, requiring no clipping, he said.

“However, on the ground we are seeing up to 100% of sheep being clipped at certain factories with the full cost applied to the producer.”

ICSA had feared that this new policy would ultimately be manipulated by processors, so the cost burden could be put back on to producers.

“As a result of this manipulation, evidence would suggest that this is a mandatory processing requirement along the kill line and, as such, the cost should be absorbed by processors. Instead, farmers are once again being forced to carry the can.”

Under the clean livestock policy for sheep, those presented for slaughter would fall into three categories; Category A Satisfactory, Category B Acceptable and Category C Unacceptable.

However, Brooks said that farmers still await visuals, in the form of photographs, that will help decipher the category a sheep falls into.

There is still confusion as to who will ultimately decide the category and the subjective nature of those decisions.

“Moreover, while guidelines have been issued to producers, processors and hauliers regarding the policy, it is notable that penalties are applied only to producers for non-compliance.”

Brooks said that the ICSA does not condone producers bringing sheep for slaughter in an unfit condition. However, this should be an issue between the individual factory and the producer in question.

“The situation should not be used to cynically extract extra monies from all farmers.”