From 2020, donkeys will only be allowed to fulfil 50% of the stocking density required under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said.

Farmers will be required to use other livestock to fulfil the other 50% requirement.

Cattle, sheep, deer, goats and horses can all be used to fulfil the requirements of the scheme.

Currently, donkeys qualify at 1LU/ha.

Change of value

In response to a parliamentary question this week on the issue of donkeys from Fianna Fáil’s Éamon Ó Cuív, Minister Creed said that the 2019 terms and conditions for the ANC scheme signal to applicants that the stocking density value applied to the use of donkeys will be changed from 2020.

“This advance notice will give potentially impacted applicants time to adapt or change practices," the Minister said.

"The terms and conditions are available online on the Department’s website and are also being posted to applicants.

“Specifically, the terms and conditions state: 'Please note that from 2020 only 50% of stocking density requirement can be fulfilled using donkeys. Applicants will be required to use other livestock to fulfil the other 50% requirement'.

“This change to the 2020 ANC scheme has been introduced on the basis of stakeholder consultation and animal welfare considerations,” Minister Creed said.

2,200 donkeys

The Irish Farmers Journal recently revealed that approximately 2,200 donkeys are used to claim ANC payments every year.

According to the Department of Agriculture, some 900 applicants use donkeys to receive payments.

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