'Inspections of heavily pregnant sheep must stop'
Calls have been made to put a stop to sheep inspections at this time of year when sheep are heavily pregnant and the risk of sheep aborting from the stress of being penned up for inspection is very high.
Making the call Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Kenny TD said he has been contacted by angry farmers who have being selected for sheep inspections and are being forced to gather all there 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.
“It is recognised that stress to sheep is a major cause of sheep aborting lambs and also causes difficulties and complications during the lambing process.
“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 of the mountains with some farmers only getting a couple of days notice to have their sheep gathered.
“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.”
Meanwhile, a long-awaited review of the legislation governing agricultural appeals has been published.
It follows concerns over inspections raised frequently over the years by farming bodies, with the spotlight on north Tipperary last year.