Meat processors have been urged to stop giving preference to lambs from Northern Ireland and elsewhere at the expense of Irish lamb.
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) sheep chair Sean McNamara said factories had Irish lambs available to them but were giving preference to truckloads of foreign lambs every week.
The ICSA said it has reason to believe up to 40% of the current sheep kill is made up of foreign lamb.
“It’s disgraceful to see Irish lambs being turned away because lairages are full of imported lambs,” McNamara said.
While it was acknowledged that some imported lamb was required to meet export demand, McNamara said imports were being used to keep prices paid to Irish farmers at “rock bottom”.
“It’s a shameful tactic and a shocking way to treat a sector that operates on such slim margins. With the price for spring lamb crashing below €5.50/kg, sheep farmers are facing enormous difficulties.”
Last week, base quotes were cut by 20c/kg to 60c/kg and up to €20 has been wiped off the value of spring lambs over the last two weeks. The ICSA is to meet with processors in the coming days seeking a reversal in price cuts.
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