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Union delivers sheep EID message to EC officials

 

NFU Scotland joined other industry stakeholders in briefing European Commission officials over ongoing problems related to the controversial electronic tagging (EID) rules for sheep, introduced across the EU at the start of 2010.

The Commission delegation, including staff from DG Sanco and DG Agri, was in Newcastle this morning (Wednesday, 20 October) to meet with UK industry representatives before moving on to a number of farm and market visits, including a presentation on Scotland’s EID pilot project.

A paper prepared by NFU Scotland for the event tackled ongoing concerns around farm inspections and cross-compliance requirements with regards to the regulation.  The Union also took the opportunity to call for European tagging requirements to change so that they only need apply when an animal is leaving its holding of birth.

Speaking after the meeting, NFU Scotland Vice-President Nigel Miller said:

“Scottish sheep farmers remain deeply concerned about the difficulties in meeting every single requirement demanded by the regulation, many of which are superfluous and do little in the way of delivering accuracy in recording sheep movements for both disease control and food safety purposes.    The cross-compliance requirements that sheep farmers face, if subject to an inspection, should solely focus on properly identifying animals that are moving and ensuring that these movements are properly recorded.

“We are adamant there are several issues that should not trigger a cross-compliance penalty on any sheep farm subject to inspection.  The Regulation requires farmers to record all the dates of tagging and re-tagging of sheep.   As the tags available on farm are already known and recorded centrally by the competent authority, then failure to record the date of tagging should not be a penalty issue.

“The Regulation also requires the recording of deaths.   Clearly dead animals are not a risk in terms of traceability and disease; therefore systems of death reporting should be designed to fit the working practices on farm and the use of fallen stock collection systems.   Recording of deaths is a tool to support the running total of sheep on farm - it is not fundamental to traceability and should not be a trigger for penalties.

“The Scottish EID system, once fully up to speed, has the potential to deliver all that should be required by Europe.  The competent authority allocates electronic tags, sheep are correctly identified prior to movement and movements reported at the individual level by electronic scanning linked to a central database for maximum speed and accuracy.  I hope that the Commission officials take these messages on board and we can work with Scottish Government and others to develop a pragmatic approach to a nightmare piece of legislation.”  

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 144/10


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