Call for Common Sense and Clarity on Sheep EID Compliance

Union sets up farmer meeting with Scottish Government officers

More than 80 Scottish sheep farmers met with Scottish Government officials last night (Wednesday, 9 November) to discuss on-farm enforcement of difficult and complex sheep identification rules.

The meeting, which took place at Thainstone, Inverurie, was facilitated by NFU Scotland and involved representatives from the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID).  Similar meetings are being planned around the country.

The European-led rules on recording sheep movements and electronic tagging remain deeply unpopular with many Scottish producers.  Guidance on compliance was issued recently by Scottish Government to all registered sheepkeepers but farmers have requested further details on what is required, particularly if a farm is subject to an official inspection.

Speaking after last night’s meeting, NFUS Livestock Policy Manager Penny Johnston said:

“At the request of members, we are getting Scottish Government compliance officials round the table with sheep producers to answer questions on the complex and confusing rules regarding sheep movement and tagging rules.  Scottish Government has sent keepers information but this meeting clearly demonstrated that there is still a demand from producers for greater clarity and face-to-face meetings with compliance officers are a step forward.

“I thank them for their attendance and their public invitation that if producers have questions on compliance to contact their local SGRPID office.  Given the frank discussions, I am sure SGRPID staff left the meeting with a clear steer on the significant number of problems sheep farmers are having in meeting requirements on electronic tagging and movement recording.

“The lengthy list of problems ranged from the reliability of the EID technology, no clear picture of the read rates required to meet compliance standards, poor quality of tags supplied and the difficulties endured by those who have had official sheep inspections on farm.

“Feelings amongst sheep farmers clearly continue to run high over the justification and enforcement of sheep ID rules and it is useful that compliance officers have a better appreciation of how damaging farmers view the regulations.

“At the same meeting, representatives of ScotEID explained how the database for recording the movements of electronically tagged sheep operates.  Helpfully, NFUS and SAOS have secured funding that will allow ScotEID to set up training sessions for farmers looking for assistance in how to use the database.  Many of those attending the Thainstone meeting appeared keen to take up that invite.

“For inspection purposes, farmers must continue to keep in mind that compliance is focussed on any breeding sheep that have been brought onto a farm and have been double tagged.  The arrival of such animals must be properly recorded.   If a farmer has had an inspection and there are issues around the read rates on the breeding sheep he has brought on then ScotEID has also offered its services in trying to iron out any problems with the data.

“The industry still has huge issues with this regulation and it will take ongoing engagement and assistance from all interested parties if we are to work towards a pragmatic solution.” 

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland will be facilitating a meeting involving SGRPID officials and members to discuss sheep identification and movement reporting at Carfraemill, Lauder on Wednesday, 7 December at 7.30pm.  Other meetings are being planned.
  • ScotEID can be contacted at the ScotEID Information Centre, Unit 28 - Huntly Business Centre, 83 Gordon Street, Huntly, AB54 8FG
    Tel: 01466 794323
    Fax: 01466 792801


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006






Date Published:

News Article No.: 179/11

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