Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, and Tavish Scott, MSP for Shetland, have today branded the UK Government’s U-turn on sheep ageing measurements as “unacceptable” to the industry. The system favoured by the UK government involves the age of 12 months being measured at the point at which incisors erupt in the sheep’s mouth. The NFU Scotland had received undertakings that the UK Government would move to have more reliance on traceability systems and dates of slaughter in relation to the lambing period.
It is reported that the Government reasoning behind the cancellation of the changes is a desire not to add further changes at a time of upheaval with Brexit.
Commenting, Alistair said:
“There will be massive disappointment among farmers and crofters in the Northern Isles that that these much needed changes, which would improve the accuracy of the ageing of sheep, have been cancelled. They tell me that current system is arbitrary and costs them money. The requirement for change is long overdue.
“The Government were wrong to promise changes and then to withdraw them at the last moment. By doing this they have heaped uncertainty onto a system at the very time they were seeking to make things more clear.”
“This decision is utterly unreasonable and has let down farmers who thought, at last, that reforms were coming to this outdated and old-fashioned system.
“The UK Government have got to reconsider this decision, and bring in the reforms that the farming industry needs and is in favour of.”