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Lambing disruption

A ewe with its lambs in Vidlin on Tuesday. Photo: Shetnews

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott is calling for an explanation for “disruption” to lambing following reports of government officials carrying out sheep inspections at the height of the spring season.

Scott wants to know how many farm and croft inspections have taken place during the lambing season after it was highlighted in farming industry publications.

“Lambing is a demanding three weeks for every sheep farmer and crofter,” he said. “But the Scottish Government are counting sheep during the busiest time of the farm year.”

“I can’t think of a more irresponsible act from the Scottish Government than to get in the way during lambing. Inspections of sheep are intensive, bureaucratic and time consuming. They are part of agricultural life and as welcome as a visit from the VAT man.

“There is no possible justification for the Scottish Government forcing such inspections to happen during lambing. It is irresponsible and intensely unhelpful.”

Scott pointed out that the Scottish NFU and other agricultural bodies had condemned the government’s actions.

He called for rural affairs minister Richard Lochhead to step in and halt inspections until the lambing season is over.

“That would be the right thing to do,” Scott added. “Agriculture accepts that there will be inspections as a consequence of the public money that is invested in island and rural businesses. But these should avoid times of year such as lambing.”