THE NATIONAL SHEEP ASSOCIATION (NSA) Cymru/ Wales Region has responded to the Natural Resources Wales (NRW) consultation on the proposed fees and charges increases for disposal of products including Organophosphate (OP) dips.
NSA Cymru/Wales Development Officer, Helen Roberts, says: “NSA Cymru believes there is a basic lack of evidence and clarity for many of the charge increases proposed in the present consultation.
“Indeed, it is a source of frustration that no attempt was made to provide a breakdown of current costs to allow the industry to properly evaluate the proposed increases and to determine where value for money is – or is not – being provided to the sector. Furthermore, no impact assessment has been conducted on the additional financial burden placed upon livestock keepers resulting from the proposed changes and NSA Cymru believes that this was a necessary and important inclusion.”
This consultation comes shortly after the Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths announced the Welsh Government would be awarding Welsh Further Education college, Coleg Sir Gar, a three-year contract to work on eradicating Sheep Scab in Wales.
As part of the announcement, the Minister cited that ‘Sheep Scab is one of the most contagious diseases of sheep and a difficult challenge for the industry’ and that ‘Effective control of sheep scab, both on a local and national scale is essential. Sheep must be scab-free to be productive and to have a good quality of life.’
NSA Cymru Chair, Kate Hovers, comments: “OP dips are a vital tool in ensuring animal health and welfare, and plunge dipping is acknowledged as the most effective treatment to control the prevalence of sheep scab and other external parasites. OP dips also control ticks and lice, both of which are an irritant to sheep. Ticks can also transmit Lyme disease, which is an increasing human health issue, and can destroy grouse populations and have a devastating effect on other wildlife species.
“Sheep scab is an endemic disease in the UK causing significant production and welfare problems estimated to cost the sheep industry more than £78-200m annually.”
In the response, NSA Cymru/Wales Region outlines the initiatives ongoing with the Wales Sheep Scab Group and is working on a range of long-term sustainable alternatives to address the various challenges of sheep scab in Wales.
However, delivering innovative alternative solutions will take time, which is why NSA is urging NRW to consider a moratorium on the proposed land spreading permit increase to facilitate the delivery and full evaluation of the sheep scab eradication programme and associated research.