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Farron welcomes electronic sheep tagging concessions but warns that sheep numbers will fall unless scheme is dropped

October 5, 2009 5:59 PM

Tim on a quad bike on a hill farmConcessions agreed on the electronic identification of sheep have been welcomed by Liberal Democrat Shadow Defra Secretary Tim Farron MP however, Mr Farron has warned that a significant percentage of the nation's sheep flock could still disappear if EU rules for compulsory electronic identification are introduced

Last week Defra officials and industry stakeholders agreed to allow all movements, where animals remain the responsibility of the same keeper, to be made without the need to record identities.

Mr Farron has pointed to a recent survey conducted by the NFU, which revealed that 67 per cent of England's producers would reduce their flock if individual recording and EID is introduced, as evidence that greater efforts need to be taken to reduce the devastating impact of EID.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"This is a welcome step, which will reduce the paperwork significantly, but sheep farmers will still be required to demonstrate that they are responsible for the sheep when they are on someone else's holding.

"These concessions could result in considerable cost savings for the industry, both in terms of infrastructure purchases and time spent reading tags, but it remains crazy that we've let this situation go so far down the road.

"The losses in sheep numbers reported by the NFU will still have a significant impact on the processing sector and a detrimental effect on the nation's rural economy.

"The Government shouldn't just accept that EID is here to stay and instead should be working round the clock to ensure that it becomes voluntary, not compulsory."