26 August 1999
Hundreds of sheep dumped in Wales
By Johann Tasker
WELSH farmers have abandoned up to 300 sheep at an RSPCA animal centre in North Wales in protest at the collapse in lamb and ewe prices.
The sheep are understood to have been dumped this morning by livestock producers at the Bryn-y-Maen Animal Centre, Colwyn Bay, Clywd.
A spokesman for the RSPCA confirmed that 200-300 were left at an animal centre and said he had “absolutely no idea” what would be done with the sheep.
The farmers hope to draw attention to the slump in livestock prices, which already seen Welsh producers abandon week-old calves in phone boxes.
Cull ewes are currently averaging about £10.40 each compared with £18.70 this time last year, but there are reports that some sheep are selling for as little as £1.
Agriculture minister Nick Brown will meet Welsh assembly farm minister Christine Gwyther tomorrow to discuss the crisis-hit livestock sector.
Ms Gwyther will travel to London where she and Mr Brown will discuss the possibility of granting emergency financial aid to thousands of Welsh farmers.
But the UK government has already ruled out any scheme a call for the introduction of a ewe disposal scheme to reduce the number of sheep.
Ministers maintain that such a move would be illegal under European Union state aid rules.
It is understood, however, that ministers are considering the introduction of a scheme to temporarily reduce the amount of sheep meat on the market.