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Union Tackles Europe again on EID Compliance Rules

NFU Scotland has repeated its call for an amnesty on penalties related to accidental breaches of the confusing sheep EID requirements and called on Europe to ensure that any penalties are properly focussed on any errors that weaken the robust tracking system for animals.

An NFUS briefing sent to the Commission makes the case for stripping out much of the unnecessary bureaucracy surrounding movement recording.   Instead, it calls for the rules, and any subsequent cross compliance inspections, to centre on the need for producers to correctly identify their sheep prior to movement and properly recording any movement on or off the farm. 

The Union believes the systems put in place by competent authorities to aid the effective and accurate recording of sheep movements, such as the Scottish database, must also be fully utilised.

NFU Scotland Vice-President, Nigel Miller said:

“The sheep ID regulation seeks to deliver a robust disease tracking system but what it delivers, in reality, is a complex and unnecessary set of rules on tagging and reporting that expose producers to a high risk of incurring a penalty were they to receive a cross compliance inspection.

“The characteristics of the sheep EID system means that full reconciliation on farm between animals and electronic tags is rarely possible even though extremely high levels of traceability on animal movements are being delivered.  The cross compliance standards attached to sheep EID compliance must reflect the purpose of the regulation, which is delivering traceability, as well as recognising the constraints and difficulties of operating EID in the sheep sector.

“Any cross compliance inspection and any resultant penalties should be focussed on whether or not any sheep farmer is delivering the key components of the regulation and helping to deliver robust tracking of animals.   These revolve around the correct identification of sheep, particularly prior to movement and the proper recording of any movement – to a central database wherever possible.

“This system is new to all parties – farmers and enforcement authorities – and a bedding-in period is essential to allow systems and producers to adapt.   During this period there should be an amnesty on any cross-compliance penalties associated with sheep EID where the breach has been non-intentional or accidental.  We believe that this is a pragmatic and fair approach that the European Commission can support.

“Until a properly targeted system for cross compliance is in place, inspections should focus on guidance for producers to help them get to grips with the requirements of this complicated Regulation.”    

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 136/10


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