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Farron urges Minister to push for UK opt-out of sheep tagging

March 24, 2009 9:15 AM

Liberal Democrat Defra Spokesperson Tim Farron MP has urged Agricultural Minister Jane Kennedy to push for a complete re-examination of plans to introduce compulsory electronic identification as EU farm ministers today held crunch talks to discuss current plans for the implementation of compulsory sheep tagging.

The Hungarian Government has shown its support for voluntary sheep tagging by tabling a motion to discuss the regulations at today's meeting, which is also likely to be supported by the German Government.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The current proposals for compulsory sheep tagging are expensive, impractical and above all unnecessary.

"Electronic ID for sheep won't offer farmers any protection against animal disease or bring any benefits in terms of traceability, but it would hugely increase farmers' costs.

"Compulsory sheep tagging will increase the input costs being placed on livestock producers, auction markets and abattoirs which could ruin the financial viability of the industry.

"When I met with Jane Kennedy in December I pressed upon her the importance of seeking an opt-out that would let the UK to drop EID for sheep. Now that an opportunity has presented itself, the Minister must do everything she can to secure a win for UK sheep farmers."