NSA calls for more clarity over Northern Ireland Windsor Framework
The National Sheep Association (NSA) is urgently calling for more detail on the potential for the easing of trade in breeding sheep between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and for the future of access to medicines, following the announcement of the Northern Ireland Framework last month.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “It is a welcome relief that many troubling aspects of the Northern Ireland Protocol have now reached some sort of resolution to the trade barriers and difficulties seen over the past three years. However, since its agreement, NSA has been working hard to identify any detail that would impact the two pressing issues for the livestock industry; movements and medicines.”
At the end of February UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen announced a new deal, which aims to fix post-Brexit problems in Northern Ireland. This included the development of a ‘green lane’ for goods destined for the nation and a ‘red lane’ for those destined for the European Union.
NSA Northern Ireland development officer Edward Adamson commented: “NSA Northern Ireland has welcomed the extension to the veterinary medicine cliff edge, but it does not go far enough. NSA has long been highlighting the immediate risk to the livestock industry with the potential loss of vital veterinary medicines and vaccines. The Government must step in and find a solution or risk the health of the nation’s flock.”
Stocker continued: “NSA is continually disappointed at the lack of movement on such high risk issues – there are no changes within the framework to the movement of livestock between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the separation between our nations in the trade of breeding stock is not helping viability of sheep farms, nor the possibility of easily sharing genetics. The three year extension for veterinary medicines from December 2022 was given with a view to providing industry with the requisite time to make the necessary changes. However, it is extremely short sighted and disappointing for government to indicate that preventative vaccines for conditions that are often life threatening, can be an item that is even up for discussion.”