DNA test can help get calf passports - but make you are certain

Farmers who have missed the deadline for a calf passport now have the opportunity to appeal by using a DNA test - but they should only consider a test if they are certain.

Farmers who have missed the deadline for a calf passport now have the opportunity to appeal by using a DNA test - but they should only consider a test if they are certain of the link between the calf and the dam, the NFU has said.

Any DNA tests that come back negative or as a 'no return' will trigger a full investigation into why the test was negative, so producers must be sure of the link.

The NFU advises cattle keepers who wish to apply for a DNA test to call the British Cattle Movement Service helpline on 0845 050 1234 and give the eartag numbers of both the dam and the calf, and the BCMS will carry out initial checks before a DNA test form is issued.

The keeper must then arrange for a licensed vet to carry out the test. Since the change in the rules regarding calf passports the BCMS has noticed a steady increase in orders for DNA testing kits.

The NFU estimated there are currently just over 23,000 animals without passports on farms in the UK. To avoid this number increasing, it is encouraging any farmers applying for passports to apply electronically through the online Cattle Tracing System at http://www.bcms.gov.uk/.

Any farmers who apply by post are urged to get and keep independent proof of posting in case applications get lost or delayed.

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