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NFUS Asks for Sheep EID Penalty Amnesty

NFU Scotland has asked the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee for a moratorium on penalising those who breach the sheep identification rules which came into force in Scotland at the start of 2010.

Union vice president Nigel Miller has made the request in a letter to the committee’s chairman, Paolo de Castro and also expressed his support for the EU’s decision that the committee conduct a review of the regulation in question, EU 21/2004 at the earliest opportunity.

NFU Scotland’s vice president Nigel Miller said:

“The European Parliament’s agriculture committee has played a significant role over the last three years in highlighting the practical problems and costs associated with Regulation 21/2004.  Members of the committee have attempted to bridge the gap between producers and the European Commission and those interventions have been valued by the sheep sector.

“Over 8000 people supported the NFU Scotland/Scottish Farmer petition to the European Parliament seeking a rethink on sheep EID/individual identification.  The petitions committee chairman recognised the weight of concern when both NFU Scotland and NSA Scotland returned to the Committee in December 2009.

“The petitions committee was asked to initiate a review of 21/2004, the aim being to investigate flexibilities or new delivery models that fit with farm systems and trading patterns.  Further, through robust protocols, they should deliver robust traceability – the key aim of Regulation 21/2004.

“With implementation now ongoing in member states, a spectrum of traceability models is being adopted, reflecting variation across Europe.  Implementation will provide indicators and evidence as to what standards are achievable and what flexibilities are required.

“A review of 21/2004 must be objective; recognise the diversity of European livestock systems; assess the costs and benefits of regulatory intervention and deliver a meaningful agenda for change.

“The agriculture committee could play a pivotal role in providing a roadmap which delivers robust individual traceability whilst allowing the flexibilities required for cost effective systems on the ground.

“Today the weight of Regulation 21/2004 falls on producers through compliance standards.  During the implementation stage, and until a review is complete, unintended breaches should not result in the application of penalties.

“I hope the European Parliament’s agriculture committee can support this proposed amnesty which would provide a window for producers and industry to implement 21/2004 and an opportunity for the committee to develop recommendations which may map a better way forward for both EU and European sheep and goat producers.”

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 27/10


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