Major processor holds up progress on sheep splitting rule changes

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A major processor has ‘broken ranks’ on the need to use a fixed cut-off date to age lambs, stalling progress on the rule change Defra was planning to introduce.

Previously, all processors had supported farmers in wanting to end the process of ‘mouthing’, which is estimated to cost the sheep industry £25m a year, but NFU livestock board chair Richard Findlay revealed the united front has now collapsed.

In February last year, Defra plans to implement a cut-off date of June 30 for the 2019 season fell through because of Brexit complications.

At the time, the department promised to continue with its proposals to end teeth checking, but the rule change is now under threat.

Speaking at NFU council in Stoneleigh this week (January 28), Mr Findlay said: “I feel we might be let down by one of the major processors, who has backtracked on the unanimous position we held about moving away from carcass splitting to a cut-off date at the end of June.

“If as a result we do not get it over the line this year, and we are running out of time, let us be honest, I will be very disappointed.

 

Abi Kay

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