Sheep tags cause chaos in Ireland

29 June 2001

Sheep tags cause chaos in Ireland

By Philip Clarke, Europe correspondent

CHAOS reigns in the Irish sheep industry as farmers try to get to grips with the individual tagging of thousands of animals.

Farmers have complained that the tags, which were introduced last week, are simply not available from some of eight approved suppliers.

Without the tags, finished sheep cannot be taken to abattoirs.

“Farmers phone me up saying they applied for tags a month ago, yet they still havent come through,” said Frank Corcoran of the Irish Farmers Association.

Mr Corcoran said he blamed the Irish Department of Agriculture, which only issued the names of the approved suppliers in late May.

But he conceded that some farmers left it to the last minute before applying.

As a consequence, sheep throughputs have been down by over 50% this week and prices have climbed rapidly.

The Irish Department of Agriculture maintained that farmers have had plenty of time to get their tags, with 165,000 a day being issued.

A departmental spokesman said farmers had overloaded the system, applying for tags for all their sheep, not just their finished lambs.


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