‘Dog chipping must be made compulsory’ – ICSA sheep chairman

Seán McNamara sheep committee chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) spoke about the impact that marauding dogs are having on sheep farmers throughout the country on the latest episode of FarmLand.

He also discussed lamb prices and pointed to the new EID system which he says “is not needed”.

McNamara said that marauding dogs and sheep kills are a problem that is very difficult to find a solution for.

“There are a lot of dogs out there that aren’t chipped,” he continued.

“A farmer can’t shoot a dog on the farm now because if there is no chip in the animal it can’t be traced – chipping needs to be made compulsory.

Another very important thing for people to do is when they are heading off to work in the mornings to ensure that their dog is inside.

“I had a big sheep attack a year ago myself – 40 ewes were killed on me – the dog that attacked my sheep even attacked my daughter when she tried to get the animal away from the sheep.”

Lambing season

The ICSA sheep chairman went on to say that this year has been particularly good for lambing.

“Lambing season was good this year with the weather in particular suited to lambing; I haven’t seen as good a year in the last 10 years,” McNamara added.

He also pointed out that trade at the moment is picking up but that in the months prior to this – as the drama of Brexit unfolded – “Northern farmers were coming in and dumping lambs on us trying to get rid of them”.

At the moment, there are very little lambs or hoggets left in the North and down here the price is going up.

He continued: “If there is a no-deal Brexit and a hard border farmers in the south would get more for their lambs but some of the factories would have to close because there wouldn’t be enough of them to kill the lambs that would be there.

“If there is a deal lambs will keep coming down from the North; that will mean competition for us and that will keep the price of our lambs down.”

‘No need for EID tagging’

Speaking briefly about the EID tagging McNamara said ICSA members feel “there is no need” for the system.

The sheep chairman said there is a “perfectly good” traceability system already in place.

“Members are saying there is no need for this EID tagging; it is an extra cost on farmers and we already have a traceability system that works,” he confirmed.

“And the marts say it is too costly to install.”