By Neale McQuistin

The National Sheep Association, while recognising the ambitions of the UK Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, has spoken out against some of the plans for legislative change contained in Queen’s speech on Tuesday.

Key areas covering animal welfare, alongside focused actions in the Environment Bill to protect nature, are of particular concern to the sheep industry’s leading body.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “There were both welcome and unwelcome intentions outlined within the Queen’s Speech and as is often the case the devil will be in the detail as these Bills get developed.

“We are enthusiastic about being a global leader in health and welfare (and environmental) standards, but these have to be based on evidence and practicality, and it will not advance welfare of animals if these standards aren’t a requirement for food imports to the UK. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from pushing things out of sight and high standard farming has to be economically viable at an industry scale.

“NSA is still highly concerned over the proposals outlined in the Government’s recent consultation on journey times and welfare in transport and we do not feel that an outright ban on live exports for slaughter is necessary.

“We believe there are more creative and intelligent ways to ensure good welfare.”

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson sold 443 prime and cast sheep at Newton Stewart yesterday.

All classes of prime and cast sheep were more difficult to sell this week but the 95 prime lambs still sold to a top of £158 for a heavyweight Beltex, while lightweight lambs peaked at 350p/kg.

Prime hoggs also came to less money when they averaged 255p overall. Top prices were £144 for a heavy Beltex and 302p/kg for a pen of Texels. Cast ewes sold to £125 for Texels and to £120 for a Beltex. Mule ewes peaked at £95 with Blackfaces to £84 for a pen of 12.

C&D Auctions held its weekly sale of primestock in Dumfries yesterday where prime cattle sold to a top of 262p/kg for a Limousin cross heifer.

OTMs were a plainer show but were in big demand. Dairy types sold to £1,148 and 140p/kg to average 126p, while beef types peaked at £1,330 and 182p to average 149p.

New season lambs (39) sold to £160 for Suffolk crosses and to 380p/kg.

The 207 prime hoggs made up to £149 per head and to 315p/kg for Texels. Cast ewes sold to £120 for Charolais, while Mules peaked at £93 and Blackfaces to £78.