14 April 2000

Another year till OP sheep dips go back on sale

ORGANOPHOSPHATE sheep dip will probably remain unavailable for another year, according to the chairman of the Veterinary Products Committee.

Ian Aitken told MPs that at a practical level it might be optimistic to suggest OP dips would be back on the market by the autumn. It would be more realistic to expect them to return this time next year, although it would depend on manufacturers plans, he added.

The Agriculture Select Committee was told there was no scientific justification for keeping organophosphate sheep dips off the market once packaging has been approved. Junior agriculture minister Baroness Hayman told MPS that if the Veterinary Product Committee was satisfied then the products could be put back on the market.

Roger Cook of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) said the storm of protest about the removal of OP dips seemed to have changed the authorities attitude. The decision to withdraw OPs was taken on the basis of operator benefits but the government now realised they had to look at all factors including animal welfare, economics and environmental, he claimed. &#42