European TSE Regulation Amended to Give Flexibility in Identifying Sheep Age

UK Representatives in Europe vote in favour of amendment following NFU Scotland requests

Yesterday, the European Commission Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) voted in favour of adopting and amendment to the regulation governing controls for TSEs (transmissible spongiform encephalopathies).

Under the existing regulation, domestic regulators had to assume that sheep were over 12 months old if their permanent incisors had erupted, this is a time-consuming process with questionable accuracy. The new amendment will allow domestic regulators in the UK to adopt alternative methods of identifying sheep age which are better suited to the needs of the sector.

NFU Scotland has consistently argued for increased flexibility on the method of identifying age, to take in to account the variances in sheep production across the European Union. Last month NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick wrote to DEFRA Secretary Michael Gove to request that the UK Government vote in favour of this amendment.

Commenting on the result NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said “This positive development strengthens the overarching European regulation by allowing flexibility within EU member states, and follows direct representations being made by NFU Scotland to the UK Government.

“The UK sheep industry has previously agreed proposals to implement an alternative method of using a cut-off date each year after which sheep are considered to be over 12 months old, it’s important that industry resumes discussions with regulators on this sensible proposal.

“If we can move away from having to check for permanent incisor eruption then this has the potential to save the sheep sector time and money, potentially enhancing the profitability of the sector.”


Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4108

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 17/18

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