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Sheep

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 17 December 1987

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14.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence he has as to whether sheep with radioactivity levels above the level of 1,000 bq/kg entered the food chain from north Yorkshire following the Chernobyl accident; and if he will make a statement.

I am satisfied from the monitoring that we have done both in 1986 and more recently that it is extremely unlikely that any sheep showing radioactivity above 1,000 bq/kg has entered the food chain.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many (a) ewes and (b) lambs in the restricted area of Cumbria, were monitored and released unmarked each month since the apricot marking scheme was introduced;(2) how many

(a) ewes and (b) lambs in the restricted area of Cumbria, were marked apricot and released for each month since the initiation of the new scheme;

(3) how many (a) ewes and (b) lambs in the restricted area of Cumbria, were green-sprayed in each month since the introduction of the new scheme in the current year;

(4) how many monitored lambs were blue-painted and released during each calendar month in the restricted area of Cumbria from 18 August 1986;

(5) how many non-monitored lambs were blue-painted and released during each calendar month in the restricted area of Cumbria from 18 August 1986;

(6) how many non-monitored sheep, in the restricted area of Cumbria other than lambs, were blue-painted and released for (a) further fattening and (b) breeding, broken down into categories of ewe, shearling and tup;

(7) how many monitored sheep, in the restricted area of Cumbria, other than lambs, were blue-painted and released for (a) further fattening and (b) breeding, broken down into categories of ewe, shearing and tup;

(8) how many non-monitored gimmer lambs in the restricted area of Cumbria were red-painted for away wintering to return for breeding;

(9) how many monitored gimmer lambs in the restricted area of Cumbria were red-painted for away wintering to return for breeding;

(10) how many non-monitored sheep, in the restricted area of Cumbria, other than gimmers, were red-painted and released for (a) fattening or (b) breeding, broken down into categories of ewe, shearling or tup;

(11) how many monitored sheep, in the restricted area of Cumbria, other than gimmers, were red-painted and released for (a) fattening or (b) breeding, broken down into categories of ewe, shearling or tup;

(12) how many sheep were monitored for radioactivity under the mark and release scheme in England in each month since 1 September 1986;

(13) how many sheep were monitored for radioactivity and sprayed green in England in each month since 1 September 1986;

(14) how many sheep were monitored for radioactivity and not marked and thus released in England in each month since 1 September 1986;

(15) how many red an blue-marked sheep were released for slaughter into the food chain in England during each week of January, February and March;

(16) how many apricot-marked sheep were released for slaughter into the food chain each month after 25 May in England.

The information sought is not always available in the manner requested. Relevant information in my Department's possession is set out in the table.

(a) Ewes and lambs monitored and released unmarked from Cumbria restricted area since apricot marking scheme introduced on 22 December 1986:

Month

Ewes

Lambs

Total

Part December 1986633
January 19872,363
February1,505
March2,598
April1,186
May2,598672,665
June2,6895003,189
July160653813
August9261,6932,619
September2,1429,68911,831
October6,88116,09722,978
November3,49812,60716,105
Part December158506664

Notes:

(i) Early records do not differentiate between ewes and lambs.

(ii) A further 4,315 lambs-at-foot were moved off without monitoring because mother ewes found to be below Government action level.

(b) Ewes and lambs marked apricot and released from Cumbria restricted area after apricot marking began on 22 December 1986:

Month

Ewes

Lambs

Part December 1986
January 1987
February

Month

Ewes

Lambs

March
April
May
June208
July1

1 Apricot marking ended on 26 July 1987.

(c) Ewes and lambs marked green on leaving Cumbria restricted area after green marking began on 27 July 1987:

Month

Ewes

Lambs

Part July 1987
August 198766110
September 1987134485

1 Green marking ended on 27 September 1987.

(d) Monitored lambs marked blue and released from Cumbria restricted area from 18 August 1986:

Month

Lambs

Part August 1986
September 1986

1267

October 1986

11,352

November 1986

1356

December 1986

1144

Part September 1987
October 1987195
November 198750
Part December 19871

1 Figures will also include ewes since early records do not differentiate between ewes and lambs.

Note: Blue marking ceased on 21 December 1986 and re-commenced on 28 September 1987.

(e) Non-monitored lambs marked blue and released from Cumbria restricted area from 18 August 1986:

Month

Lambs

Part August 1986
September 1986

1968

October 1986

12,421

November 1986

1396

December 1986
Part September 1987
October 1987
November 1987
Part December 1987

1 Figures will also include ewes since early records do not differentiate between ewes and lambs.

Note: Blue marking ceased on 21 December 1986 and re-commenced on 28 September 1987.

(f) Non-monitored sheep, other than lambs, blue painted and released for (i) further fattening and (ii) breeding broken down into categories of ewe, shearling and tup.

Information not available in form requested.

(g) Monitored sheep, other than lambs, blue painted and released for (i) further fattening and (ii) breeding broken down into categories of ewe, shearling and tup.

Information not available in form requested.

(h) Non-monitored breeding sheep from Cumbria restricted area red painted.

Sheep

19869,773

11987

7,253

1 To date.

Notes:

(i) Records do not indentify gimmers separately.

(ii) Red marked sheep may go for away wintering and return or be sold for breeding.

(i) Monitored gimmer lambs from Cumbria restricted area red painted for away wintering to return for breeding.

Lambs

1986

12,240

1987

1697

1 Figures will also include some ewes since early records do not differentiate between ewes and lambs.

Note: Records do not differentiate between those wintering and those sold.

(j) Non monitored sheep, other than gimmers, red painted and released for (i) fattening and (ii) breeding broken down into categories of ewe, shearling and tup.

Information not available in form requested.

(k) Monitored sheep, other than gimmers, red painted and released for (i) fattening and (ii) breeding broken down into categories of ewe, shearling and tup.

Information not available in form requested.

(l) Sheep monitored for radioactivity on leaving Cumbria restricted area under mark and release scheme since 1 September 1986

Sheep

September 19865,157
October 198614,931
November 198611,543
December 19862,303
January 19872,388
February 19871,505
March 19872,599
April 19871,186
May 19872,670
June 19873,244
July 1987795
August 19872,745
September 198712,741
October 198724,767
November 198716,445
December 1987 (part)670

Note: Figures include some sheep monitored but retained on farm.

(m) Sheep monitored for radioactivity and marked green on leaving Cumbria restricted area since 1 September 1986

Sheep

September 1986
July 1987
August 1987176
September 1987519

Note: Green marking ceased on 30 September 1986 and was re-introduced between 27 July and 27 September 1987.

(n) Sheep monitored for radioactivity and released un-marked from Cumbria restricted area after 1 September 1986

Sheep

September 19864,846
October 198611,010
November 198610,420
December 19862,100
January 19872,368
February 19871,505
March 19872,598
April 19871,186
May 1987

12,665

June 1987

23,189

July 1987795
August 19872,565
September 198711,831
October 198722,978
November 198716,105
December 1987664

1 Plus 2,463 lambs at foot—not monitored.

2 Plus 1,852 lambs at foot—not monitored.

(o) Red and Blue marked sheep released for slaughter into food chain in England during January, February and March 1987:

Animals re-monitored and identified as eligible for slaughter by Ministry ear-tag

Week beginning

Red

Blue

1 January (part week)418
5 January week)3,762
12 January1,455
19 January1,974
26 January2,105
2 February1,276
9 February1,072
16 February716
23 February99
2 March11
9 March3
16 March
23 March
30 March (part week)

1 All remaining blue marked sheep released from slaughter restrict ions on 27 February 1987.—is not possible to say how many of these will have been in England.

(p) Apricot marked sheep released for slaughter into food chain in England from 25 May 1987.

No apricot-marked sheep were re-monitored and identified as eligible for slaughter by Ministry ear-tag in England but all apricot marked sheep were released from slaughter restrictions on 28 September 1987. It is not possible to say how many of these will have been in England.

Note: Some of the dates given in the above tables are those when the information was recorded centrally and may not accord exactly with the date when the animals were monitored or moved.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many sheep were monitored for radioactivity in each month in England since 1 September 1986 for experimental purposes.

There is a flock of some 100 sheep in Cumbria which we have monitored continuously for experimental purposes to detect any month by month variations in levels of radiocaesium. In addition, under contract to us, both the National Radiological Protection Board and the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology have carried out similar activity on several other smaller groups of sheep.