The National Sheep Association (NSA) has called for more detail on the potential for the easing of trade in breeding sheep between Northern Ireland and Great Britain following the announcement of the Windsor Framework last month.

The trade association for UK sheep farming also raised the issue of access the medicines.

Chief executive of the NSA, Phil Stocker, said the framework was a “welcome relief” as it provided some resolution to the trade barriers and difficulties seen over the past three years.

“However, since its agreement, NSA has been working hard to identify any detail that would impact the two pressing issues for the livestock industry – movements and medicines,” he said.

“NSA is continually disappointed at the lack of movement on such high risk issues – there are no changes within the framework to the movement of livestock between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the separation between our nations in the trade of breeding stock is not helping viability of sheep farms, nor the possibility of easily sharing genetics.

“The three year extension for veterinary medicines from December 2022 was given with a view to providing industry with the requisite time to make the necessary changes.

“However, it is extremely short-sighted and disappointing for government to indicate that preventative vaccines for conditions that are often life threatening, can be an item that is even up for discussion.”

The NSA’s Northern Ireland development officers, Edward Adamson, said the branch has welcomed the extension to the “veterinary medicine cliff edge”, but said it does not go far enough.

“NSA has long been highlighting the immediate risk to the livestock industry with the potential loss of vital veterinary medicines and vaccines. The government must step in and find a solution or risk the health of the nation’s flock,” he said.