‘Unworkable aspects’ of the clean sheep policy to be reviewed

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is understood to have agreed to review the “unworkable aspects” of the current Clean Livestock Policy for sheep.

Following a meeting with senior department vets on the policy earlier today in Backweston, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) hopes that the department will revert back to it with some proposals by the end of the week.

A delegation from the IFA’s sheep committee, which included committee chair Sean Dennehy, reportedly had a “robust meeting” with the vets.

Dennehy claimed that the current “overzealous implementation” of the clean sheep policy by the department is totally unacceptable and must change immediately.

He explained that changes that the department has made in recent weeks – without consultation – has dragged the policy into disrepute and led to growing disruption of normal selling and processing activity.

This has created “major anger and frustration” at farm level, Dennehy added. He intends to raise the issue with the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed at a CAP consultation meeting tonight in Co. Cork.

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It is hoped that the department will adopt a more practical and realistic approach, taking account of the difficult weather and ground conditions of recent weeks.

Dennehy went on to say that the sending home and full shearing of sheep are not part of any policy and are totally unacceptable.

Department officials reportedly told the IFA delegation that the department will review the practice of sending sheep home and outlined that full shearing was not necessary.

Meanwhile, the IFA’s sheep committee chair added that sheep farmers would continue to present their sheep to factories as clean as possible.

Dennehy also took issue with the fact that farmers are being charged for clipping. He said farmers have been caught in the firing line and these measures are imposing both costs and labour on the sector.