Sheep Farmers Unfairly Scapegoated on Tagging

IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said sheep farmers are being unfairly scapegoated for deficiencies in some factories and at the Department of Agriculture inspection level on sheep tagging.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) published a report today highlighting the absence of checks carried out by the factories or the Department of Agriculture veterinary inspectors on sheep tags in the factories.

The FSAI report also states that the deficiency in the NSIS predominately relates to consignments delivered by dealers, who are paid by the factories.

Sean Dennehy said the proposal from Minister for the Agriculture Michael Creed to impose EID on farmers from October 1st will cost sheep farmers an additional €2m. “Sheep farmers cannot be expected to carry the costs for problems on tagging at the factories and with Department inspections.”

He said it is unacceptable and unfair that sheep farmers are being forced to pay for the additional costs of EID.

Sean Dennehy said the FSAI report highlights that 0.5% to 0.9% of sheep presented at a number of factories did not have a tag. In one plant, 1.8% of sheep supplied by dealers had no tags.

The IFA Sheep Chairman said the report takes no account of the reality of the normal loss rate of tags. It is inevitable that tags will fall out on farms and during transport of sheep. A loss rate has to be expected.

Sean Dennehy pointed out that sheep farmers are subject to comprehensive inspections on tagging at farm level under the Department of Agriculture’s cross-compliance regime. Neither Minister Creed nor the Department has reported any significant level of non-compliance.

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