Wednesday 20 February 2019

Funeral pyres of unsaleable sheep ?

In December 2017 the total number of breeding sheep in the UK was 14.7 million plus 18.6 million other sheep; wether lambs, hoggs, non-breeding ewes and rams. UK farm livestock numbers Dec. 2017
December is when our sheep population is at it's lowest.

"Peak sheep" June 2019
Lambing begins in January and gathers momentum through late Winter and Spring reaching peak sheep population in June.

In June 2018, two months after we leave the European Union there will be between 34 and 35 million sheep in the UK. We are likely to face tariffs on sheep meat exports to the EU which currently takes 94% of sheep meat exports tariff free. There could be some millions of surplus unsaleable sheep running about this summer.Prospects for UK beef and sheep after Brexit

If we have 5 million surplus ewes after March 2019 ( see the link above) what is going to happen to them? Abattoirs are already booked for weeks ahead, domestic sheep meat consumption has been declining steadily for 50 years; the prospects for sheep farmers are grim. There's a possibility we could see the army in action and funeral pyres like those during the Foot and Mouth disease epidemic 18 years ago.

Bear in mind that this will be just one aspect of the economic self-harm inflicted by a "no-deal" exit from the EU.

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