Anyone for the last few brollies? - Factories demand bone-dry and spotless ewes and lambs
I’m told that the next big thing in sheep fashion could be the umbrella coat.
It’s a device that would pop up umbrella -like from its holder on a ewe or lamb’s back to guard the unsuspecting animal from rain and other precipitation.
Before you ring up my editor and complain that Coughlan has been on the sauce, there is a very logical reason for my speculation about future trends in the world of high sheep fashion.
The biggest issue for those on the frontline of the sheep trade yesterday morning was wet sheep and how factories are dealing with the issue.
The consternation coming from the likes of John Brooks of ICSA was very understandable. The factories’ insistence that sheep not only be clean but that they be constantly dry has him and many others in a state of high anxiety.
Mr Brooks said: “This is Ireland, it’s the middle of the winter, and sheep get wet. What are farmers to do? “In the last week, the ante has been upped by processors. By all accounts wet sheep were perfectly acceptable up until last week. If they now want to introduce a policy of dry sheep only, they will have to look at their own facilities.
“There is plenty of scope to improve lairage conditions so sheep can dry off before slaughter. There is also scope to improve wash-bay facilities for trailers.
“Sheep farmers cannot stop the rain from falling so it is impossible to present dry sheep only for slaughter. ICSA does not condone producers bringing sheep for slaughter in an unfit condition but wet sheep do not contravene the ethos of the Department of Agriculture’s Clean Livestock Policy. Wet sheep are not dirty sheep.”