Local MP Tim Farron has welcomed news that the government has secured an agreement that 8 million sheep born before 1 January 2010 will not be required to be electronically tagged until 31 December 2014 at the earliest. However, Tim has cautioned that much more must be done to tackle the huge burdens brought on farmers by unnecessary electronic sheep tagging rules.
Without this win, farmers in theSouthLakeswould have to either visually collect and record the sheep's tag number on movement documents, or they would have to retrospectively identify them with electronic tags. According to DEFRA figures the estimated cost to farmers would have been between £4million-£11.5million over the next three years.
Tim is currently chair of the All-Party Parliamentary group on Hill Farming and has long fought for fair trade for our farmers.
Commenting, Tim said: "In times like this it is simply unaffordable to electronically tag the millions of sheep born before electronic sheep identification was even introduced! Hill farmers have some of the lowest incomes in the country; the average hill farmer in 2009 earned just £5,000, so asking them to pay an extra cost could push many of them out of business. I now want the government to go back to Europe and continue to make the case against sheep tagging which is unnecessary and unaffordable."
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