Introduced in 2016 and fully implemented late last year, the Clean Livestock Policy (CLP) for sheep has raised concerns among farmers on the ground.

In the coming weeks, as the weather changes, the number of sheep falling into Category C (unacceptable for slaughter) of the policy is likely to increase.

To help farmers identify lambs that are satisfactory (Category A), acceptable (Category B) or unacceptable (Category C) for slaughter, AgriLand has prepared the below guide.

Category A

These are sheep with a clean and dry fleece that can be slaughtered, with an unacceptable risk of contaminating the meat during the slaughter process, by using the standard hygienic dressing procedures routinely employed by the plant.

The lamb’s tail is clean, dry and free from contamination

When a Category A sheep is turned over, a nice, clean, uncontaminated fleece and belly is observed.

The lamb’s belly is dry, clean and free from contamination

Side on, the Category A lamb is clean and dry; there’s also no evidence of fleece contamination.

A side view of a Category A lamb

Category B

Sheep in this category are classified as having a moderate soiling of fleece that can only be slaughtered, without an unacceptable risk of contamination of the meat during the slaughter process, by putting in place additional interventions. This includes extra defined dressing controls.

Category B sheep often appear to clean when standing upright

These lambs may appear clean when upright; but when turned over, they often have a dirty belly or tail.

Dags around the tail area are a big issue with Category B sheep

Category C

These are sheep with a heavily-contaminated fleece unfit for slaughter. These sheep must not be presented for ante-mortem in this condition and it is the responsibility of the FBO (food business operator) to take the required remedial action.

A Category C sheep with wet, dirty wool around the tail area

The sheep’s fleece is wet and contaminated with dirt. It’s often a problem with lambs that were fed meal while at pasture. Remedial action (partial shearing) is required for these animals to pass a veterinary inspection prior to slaughter.

clean livestock policy

A Category C lamb with dirty wool on its belly

Sheep with long wool also require particular attention. Even if the farmer has partially clipped the sheep, the overhanging wool may result in the lamb being classified as a Category C animal.

Although the farmer had completed a partial shear of the lamb prior to travelling to the factory, the overhanging, wet wool is a source of contamination