Are farmers being fleeced for clean lambs?
The Clean Livestock Policy is undoubtedly a good thing, but we need more clarity on how some meat plants are implementing it, writes Andrew Kinsella
I am compelled to relate my experience of selling the last few lambs from this year’s lamb crop. It was not a pleasant occurrence and raises questions about the Clean Livestock Policy for sheep as operated in some meat plants.
The lambs are normally sold through the local producer group to ICM Camolin but as my neighbour, who normally does the transporting, and myself had a number of overfat lambs we went elsewhere as the plant in question was offering a flat price.
In total there were 13 lambs, of which four had been reared indoors on straw bedding since their birth, while nine had been grass fed. The lambs went to the alternate factory on the evening of November 5 — a very wet day — for killing the next day.
As usual the payment documents arrived a few days later but this time it was unusual in that the deductions included a clipping charge of €2/lamb — €26 in total.
Granted, the outdoor lambs were wet on loading and I could see that a few of the lambs (a maximum of four — all Suffolk cross) had soiled rears and may have required dagging.
However, the remaining five outdoor lambs (Charollais and Belclare cross) were perfectly clean.
The indoor lambs were totally dry when loaded.
The amount of money involved is not large but it is the principle that worries me.