Which way UK sheep farming?

A farmer's perspective on the issues which influence the future of sheep farming in the UK.

Year of Publication2005

There is no doubt whatsoever that sheep farming will have a part to play in the UK farming scene for a very long time into the future for it is supported by some of the most dedicated and entrepreneurial people in agriculture. They are blessed with the indomitable spirit and determination needed to ensure a real future for sheep in spite of the difficulties and impediments put in place by urban orientated politicians and civil servants and in spite of the highly professional lobbying of bodies of people who are dedicated to hold sway without understanding the problems which they create for farming. This is especially so when that involves extensive livestock keeping. Examples abound with a great deal of new legislation having a serious impact on the way in which the industry has to operate in order to survive.Included in this is the ability which the general public now has to access farmland whether it is in sole occupation or else common land. Both are problematic and create difficulties for farmers usually through ignorance, when dogs are allowed to roam amongst stock without proper control.In addition to the daily needs of shepherding and running a farm there is the ever growing burden of paperwork which is not only alien to the practical approach of hands-on farmers and largely seen by them as unnecessary and tiresome, but which encroaches on lives which are already short of breathing space and so-called quality time to think and plan for the future.The ban on foxhunting will cause particular problems for sheep farming simply because hunting the fox, a particularly vicious predator of young lambs can only be done with a pack of hounds of adequate size, so that the fox, a wily animal, can be followed and disposed of in a sensible way. The Act allowing only two hounds in a wooded area is totally inadequate.

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public accesshuntingbureaucracy
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