Ulster Unionist Agriculture Spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, has called on the Northern Ireland Executive to consider funding the ‘Fallen Animal Scheme’ for all animals which have died as a result of the recent heavy snowfall. The Executive meeting is due to take place tomorrow.
Mrs Dobson said: “Farmers are coping with the aftermath of the heavy snow and I believe it is only right for the Northern Ireland Executive to shoulder some of that burden, to help them at what is for many a critical time in their farming careers.
“We have heard varying estimates of the number of animals which have perished in the snow, however it is clear that the numbers are considerable.
“I met farmers in South Down yesterday who are dealing with dire conditions and rapidly running out of feed. Those farmers who have lost livestock, will be left to shoulder the expense of having these animals removed from their farms at a cost of roughly £20 for a Ewe and £10 for a lamb.
“I believe that the Executive and Department of Agriculture should cover the cost of removing the animals which have died as a result of the snow - a gesture which would deliver immediate help to our farmers and one which would remove some of the worry and stress of coping with the harsh conditions they are currently facing.
“I know that my Ulster Unionist colleague, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy, will be supporting a package of relief measures at the Executive meeting tomorrow and has already indicated this to Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill.
“My colleagues and I are fully behind our farmers in their time of need and will continue to fight to ensure they have the funds and resources they need to overcome these extremely severe weather conditions.”