NFU vows to continue EID fight

Farming leaders have vowed to continue the fight on electronic identification of sheep, following news of a victory in Brussels.

The Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health (SCoFCAH) has agreed to workable rules on third-party/critical control point reading, which means movements will be able to be recorded and tags read away from the holding of origin.

The decision will significantly reduce the cost of implementing EID regulations and could save the UK sheep industry between £7m and £18m a year on the original proposal costs.

However, the National Farmers Union (NFU) said that it “remains very concerned” that compulsory EID will lead to “massive and threatening increased costs” for UK sheep farmers.

Of particular concern is the fact that in order to get other member states to agree on critical point reading, the UK government had to agree not to seek any further changes to the regulation.

“For the Commission to ask our Government not to raise this issue again is, quite frankly, scandalous,” said NFU livestock board chairman Alistair Mackintosh.

“There are a number of flexibilities that could greatly reduce the impact on British farmers and we will continue to highlight these to the Commission and do everything we can to ensure this regulation is workable.

“We believe any cost-benefit analysis carried out after this regulation is implemented will show it is not fit-for-purpose and we will be seeking a review at the earliest opportunity.”

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