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Scottish sheep suffering exposed
Posted 1 October 2004
A new report by Advocates for Animals has dispelled the idyllic image that still surrounds free-range farming in open fields.
Silent Lambs - Sheep Welfare in Scotland estimates that hundreds of thousands - probably millions - of Scottish sheep and lambs suffer unnecessarily from painful lameness each year, especially footrot.
Other problems of epidemic proportions include preventable parasitic diseases such as sheep scab and worms; millions of lambs painfully mutilated by having their tails removed and by being castrated; shocking death rates of up to 15% of lambs and 6% of ewes around lambing time; diseased sheep in large flocks or remote areas being left to suffer without treatment; and diseases not being reported by farmers, potentially allowing them to spread.
Continuing reliance on livestock markets, known to be stressful and to harbour and spread infectious diseases, is also criticised. Advocates for Animals claim that Scottish sheep farmers receive in excess of £70 million of taxpayers' money in subsidies.
Silent Lambs - Sheep Welfare in Scotland is available on the Advocates for Animals website.