Call for pragmatic approach

FARMERS are asking for official flock inspections to take place at more convenient times for them.

Farming leaders are asking the Scottish Government if hill farmers could let officials know when they are bringing mobs of sheep in so they can coincide their visit.

NFU Scotland president and Stow hill farmer Nigel Miller said sheep farmers every year raise concerns about being asked to gather sheep at short notice and sometimes at sensitive times, such as lambing or tupping.

He continued: “In extensive areas, any gathering takes a lot of time, effort and staff and such inspections can often coincide with poor weather or busy periods doing other farm work such as harvest or silage.”

The union is suggesting a “pragmatic” approach of inspections taking place during notified periods when sheep are customarily gathered.

“That approach would significantly ease the pressure on farm management, support animal welfare and speed the whole inspection procedure, “ said Mr Miller.