ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara has demanded information on the numbers of live sheep imports are publicised on a weekly basis.
“Processors are bringing in huge volumes of imported lambs and this information needs to be in the public domain.”
McNamara said that full transparency is needed in this area if “we are to have any hope of sheep farmers getting a fair return for their produce”.
Over 456,000 sheep imported
ICSA understands that 456,452 sheep were imported from Northern Ireland and Scotland in 2018. “Yet, we have been met with nothing but vagueness and excuses from meat processors on this issue.”
“Sheep from across the border have always been brought down here but the larger numbers are getting out of hand. Factories need to come clean on when and why and from where they are bringing in such large volumes for foreign lambs.”
"We don’t have a level playing field and Irish sheep farmers are constantly losing out and are unable to make a decent return.”
'Keep a lid on prices'
“It’s clear to ICSA that factories are using these imports to keep a lid on prices.”
“Furthermore, we have no information whether these imported sheep are subject to the same strict rules as local farmers regarding Clean Livestock Policy or indeed what happens to them post-slaughter."
This again, McNamara outlined, brings up labelling issues and puts at risk the whole idea of traceability, origin green and quality assurance.