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Concessions on sheep tagging "don't go far enough" - Farron

July 28, 2009 12:00 AM

Tim on a quad bike on a hill farmConcessions that will reduce the impact of sheep tagging rule on farmers don't go far enough according to Liberal Democrat Defra Secretary Tim Farron, who believes the government should continue to campaign for further exemptions to the EU regulations.

Tim believes the Government have the perfect get-out because the equipment is only 90% effective. A system that is supposed to improve traceability is absolutely pointless if it is not reliable, therefore the Government should resist EID.

The amended rules agreed last week by the EU's Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health will allow for the introduction of critical control points, which will mean animal's electronic tags will be scanned at markets or abattoirs rather than farms.

Mr Farron, who has campaigned for the introduction of EID to be voluntary, not compulsory - labelled the concessions as a "small step in the right direction", but argued that there should be no need to electronically tag any sheep until it leaves its holding of birth.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"This is a small step in the right direction that will mean farmers will not have to buy their own tag readers which will save them between £7-18million each year.

"But this doesn't mean that the fight is won. The overall cost to the industry is still likely to be as high as £65million and the scheme remains overly burdensome. Despite the concessions, EID remains another needless bureaucratic hoop for our farmers to jump through, especially given that the equipment is not entirely reliable.

"I'm still not satisfied with the outcome, as there is absolutely no need to electronically tag any sheep until it leaves its holding of birth. That must now be the government's aim."