Tipperary farming: sheep welfare scheme must be a 'top priority' for Cowen
ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara has said a bigger and better Sheep Welfare Scheme must be top of the agenda for new Minister for Agriculture, Barry Cowen.
“The Sheep Welfare Scheme will draw to a close at the end of this year and for the scheme to be developed and continue in 2021 we must plan for this immediately. There can be no doubt however that the budget for the scheme will need to be increased significantly,” he said.
Mr McNamara said that ICSA was proposing that an increased payment of €30 per ewe could be achieved with the addition of several bolt-on measures to the scheme.
"The scheme has worked well but we know there are additional tasks that could be introduced to justify such an increase," he said.
Mr McNamara said that wool was now a loss-making enterprise for sheep farmers. As wool prices fall ever lower, it has become an animal welfare issue and must fall under the Sheep Welfare Scheme in future.
The branding of sheep and sheep dipping must also be included, he said.
“The sheep sector has not received the attention it deserves, and this will have to change. Sheep farmers have never received any exceptional aid during recent tough times, unlike their dairy and beef counterparts. ICSA has repeatedly looked for BEAM type scheme for sheep and this must still be given careful consideration,” said Mr McNamara.