Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Questions (322)

Michael Healy-Rae


322. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans in relation to using donkeys in stocking requirements (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22518/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under the eligibility criteria of the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme, applicants must maintain 0.15 Livestock Units (LU) per eligible forage hectare for 7 consecutive months and maintain an average of 0.15 LU over the 12 months of the scheme. Donkeys have always been accepted as eligible animals under the scheme along with cattle, sheep, goats and deer. Horses are also accepted but are subject to additional criteria and must be held on a premises registered as an Equine Breeding Enterprise.

Following consultation with stakeholders, it has been decided to introduce changes in the scheme stocking requirement in relation to donkeys. From the 2020 scheme year, only 50% of an applicants stocking density can be fulfilled using donkeys and the balance must be fulfilled using other eligible animals. This change was highlighted in the Terms and Conditions document of the 2019 ANC scheme in order to give sufficient lead in time to applicants who may need to amend their stocking patterns.