CAP Amendments Aid Sheep EID Fight

NFU Scotland has backed MEP attempts to modify Europe’s controversial rules on sheep EID.
After heavy lobbying from NFUS and fellow farming unions - NFU, NFU Cymru, and the Ulster Farmers Union – A number of MEPs from across the UK have tabled amendments to the Common Agricultural Policy reform process which would introduce an element of tolerance in the EID rules.

George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, has laid amendments aimed at removing the threat of SFP cross-compliance penalties for farmers who have failed to comply with strict requirements in EID to replace sheep tags lost through no fault of their own. His amendments would also compel the European Commission to introduce guidelines setting out further flexibility for Member States on the implementation of EID rules.

Another amendment, tabled by a group of Conservative MEPs also calls on the Commission to issue guidelines on the interpretation of the rules on animal identification that reflect, particularly in the case of electronic systems, that 100% accuracy is often not possible and some tolerance should be built in.

Given that around 7500 amendments have been tabled on CAP Reform proposals, others beneficial amendments regarding the impact of electronic identification may yet emerge before the lengthy process of securing support amongst MEPs begins.
NFU Scotland’s Livestock Policy Manager, John Sleigh said:  

“Throughout the discussions on the implementation of sheep EID, we have consistently stressed the need for an accepted level of tolerance.  
“It is impossible for Scottish sheep farmers to achieve complete accuracy at all times due to problems with faulty tags, lost tags, faulty reading equipment, climatic conditions and practical difficulties. But as the rules stand, any of these problems could result in farmers receiving cross compliance penalties through no fault of their own.
“Through our Brussels office, UK unions have worked closely with MEPs throughout the process and we are pleased they have taken this opportunity to challenge the Commission rules with some new amendments. We must now work doubly hard to get support from a majority of MEPs in the European Parliament to push these changes.  That will be a challenge.
“Given nearly 7,500 amendments have been tabled to the Commission’s CAP proposals it will be a hard task, but our Brussels office will work closely with our colleagues from across Europe to try to ensure a positive result.” 

Notes to editors

  • Almost 7500 amendments have been tabled to the European Commission’s proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy post 2014. The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee is likely to vote on the amendments in the autumn with a possible vote by all MEPs towards the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013. New CAP rules are supposed to come into force in 2014, but many commentators suggest 2015 is a more likely start date.  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006


Date Published:

News Article No.: 88/12

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