Union Back in Brussels on Sheep EID Business

NFU Scotland will be back in Brussels tomorrow (Thursday, 29 March) urging Commission officials to speed up the timetable to review sheep EID regulations and adopt a Scottish proposal that would only require sheep to be double tagged electronically when they leave the holding of birth.

In a meeting facilitated by George Lyon MEP, and accompanied by representatives of NSA Scotland, NFU Scotland’s President Nigel Miller will encourage commission officials to take on board the growing volume of evidence regarding sheep EID that has been gathered in Scotland over a period of more than three years. 

The Scottish tag read rates, recently published by ScotEID, show that compliance standards need to reflect real experience of using EID tags and that a system of electronic identification can be introduced when sheep are leaving the farm and still deliver robust traceability.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Miller said:
"Scotland is in a unique position within Europe in terms of providing the Commission with a body of credible evidence on sheep EID.  That evidence has been generated over several years and is based on Scotland's own sheep EID pilot and two years of statistical analysis of sheep tag read rates through the system Scotland has put in place.  The figures are clear justification for reform of the existing regulation.

"Both the 2010 and 2011 statistics on sheep electronic tag read rates in Scotland, published by ScotEID, expose the limitations of both the technology and the tags.   In that regard, the figures show the need for Europe to put in place a more proportionate compliance system.

"There is also real evidence, also from Scot EID, that even with compromised read rates on electronic tags, our system delivers excellent traceability and meets all necessary requirements in terms of food safety and disease control. That should be recognised by the European Commission and receive a level of backing and support from it.

"For Scottish sheep keepers, we need to move compliance requirements away from being based on filling out paperwork and the flock register to simply focus on tagging standards at movement and then properly recording those movements of sheep. 

“We hope to encourage officials to move the review process for the sheep EID regulation on so we can also look at having our long-standing Scottish option of only electronically double tagging homebred ewes when they leave farm adopted.  That common-sense approach would allow homebred ewes to be managed on farm with a single flock identifier and significantly reduce compliance problems, ear tag damage and ear tag retention issues. 

“These are things that can further enhance traceability rather than the perception that the opposite would be achieved." 


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 32/12

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