Meat factories cracking down on 'dirty' sheep
Processors claim Department vets are demanding strict compliance on clean stock rules
Farmers are facing a clean sheep clampdown in the factories this week, with reports of some plants turning away dirty animals.
A renewed focus on 'dirty' sheep by Department of Agriculture vets has already resulted in animals being held back for clipping in some plants, while suppliers have been warned that dirty sheep will not be killed.
The factories claim they have been instructed by the Department that dirty stock - those classed as category C under the Clean Livestock Policy for Sheep - were not to be slaughtered.
"There is a strong focus on clean sheep now and everyone needs to do as much as they can to get them in as clean as possible," said Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland (MII).
"With the greater attention on it, hopefully not as many will be coming in. Those categories such as C are certainly being held over until they can be addressed," he added.
John Kennedy of Kildare Chilling's lamb procurement office, said the company was trying to work with farmers on the issue.
However, he insisted that animals classed as category C cannot be sent up the line.
"We are still getting 60 to 100 bad ones a day. We are leaving them back to dry out and we get someone in to clip them," he said. "It is a big veterinary issue."