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‘Sheep dyeing could help deter the rustlers’ – Sharon Bowles MEP

May 11, 2011 11:21 AM

Sharon Bowles MEP with lambEuro MP Sharon Bowles, who represents South East England at the European Parliament, has said that dyeing could prevent rustlers from stealing sheep over the summer months.

According to the National Farmer'sUnionthere has been a five-fold increase in the number of sheep thefts this year due, in part, to the recession and the high price of lamb.

Stolen sheep are often butchered at unlicensed abattoirs, most of which do not comply with food safety regulations, and then sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Sharon Bowles MEP said:

"Sheep rustling may sound like something you would expect to see in an old John Wayne film but it is having a tangible impact on theUK's rural economy.

"With ewes priced at over £100 each, farmers are losing out. What is more, rustlers are playing Russian roulette with consumers' health.

"I would encourage any sheep owners in the South East, where possible, to follow the lead of farmer John Heard in Okehampton, Devon, and dye their sheep in a non-toxic, eye-catching colour so that rustlers think twice before walking off with their livestock.

"It may be a little unorthodox to dye sheep but it could help deter the rustlers."