Defra secures EID concessions

The EU Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (Scofcah) has voted by qualified majority for changes to the individual recording requirements for sheep and goats.

The EID regulations, due to be introduced from 31 December 2009, require compulsory EID of sheep and individual recording of sheep and goats from 31 December 2009.

UK sheep farmers have warned that the new regulations could drive farmers out of business, due to the cost and difficulties of recording the individualidentities of the UK sheep flock. The industry identified the requirement to record individual details of animals that are not electronically identified on movement documents as too burdensome.

Working closely with the Commission, Defra has now secured changes to the annexes of the EU Regulation that will considerably reduce the movement recording burdens.

The Regulation now provides for a phased approach to the introduction of individual recording as follows:

* no animals to have to be individually recorded on a movement document until 1 January 2011,

* no animals born before 31 December 2009 have to be individually recorded on a movement document until 31 December 2011

* no animal born before 31 December 2009 and moving to slaughter (directly or via a market) have to be recorded on a movement document at all.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn, said: "These changes, which we have pressed hard for, will help reduce the individual recording burden that industry would have faced in respect of sheep and goat movements once EID is implemented.

"I appreciate there are practical issues with implementation and we want to work closely with industry to ensure that we put in place a practical system that they can work with.

"Ever since this Regulation was first negotiated the UK pressed the Commission to produce a full and thorough cost/benefit analysis to support its proposal.

"On agreeing to postpone the EID introduction date to 31 December 2009, I raised similar concerns and will continue to seek assurances from the Commission that the objectives of the Regulation are being met in the most cost-effective way."

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