Concern as new figures reveal 900 lambs/day rejected by slaughter houses for being too 'dirty'
- Farmers say new rules are 'way over the top and have to stop'
- Department vets sent home up to 3,600 lambs
- Minister says policy is a public health measure
Farmers met with senior vets in the Department of Agriculture again this week over the ongoing problems with the implementation of the Clean Sheep Policy by the Department at the lamb factories.
IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said analysis shows that more than 900 lambs per day, or between 7pc and 9pc of the kill, are being classified as Category C and ordered home or back to farm by the Department.
He said this approach cannot continue as it is imposing major unnecessary costs on farmers, it is not provided for under EU regulations, and seriously disrupting the normal sale of sheep.
While up to 93pc of sheep are categorised A and B and deemed suitable for slaughter, Sean Dennehy said it was never the intention under the Clean Sheep Policy that sheep would be sent home or that the Department would insist on full shearing of some sheep.
He said this approach is way over the top and has to stop.
In addition, he said both factories and farmers are reporting a complete lack of consistency on the policy between plants and vets.
Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed has said food legislation requires that primary producers rearing animals or producing primary products of animal origin are to take adequate measures to ensure the cleanliness of animals going to slaughter.
"My Department has, accordingly, developed a clean livestock policy which has been agreed with farmer, haulier and Food Business Operator stakeholders. The policy document was finalised in February 2017.