NFU and NSA meet with government over sheep movement concerns

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the National Sheep Association (NSA) have held an urgent government meeting concerning the inspection and penalty process for sheep movement reporting. 

The meeting with members of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) was to clarify that farmers are not responsible for third-party errors that have been registered in the Animal Reporting and Movement Service (ARAMS). This electronic reporting system, introduced on 1 April 2014, provides details on the movement of sheep, goats and deer within England.

RPA officials confirmed that while a breach is recorded by the inspector as a preliminary measure, an automatic investigation and validation process is applied to ensure that farmers are not penalised for errors beyond their control.

A joint NFU/NSA statement said: “We successfully got an agreement from Defra and the RPA that farmers are not responsible for third-party errors and that they can help themselves by registering with ARAMS and cross-referencing movements listed with on-farm records. There is no need to electronically report movements to gain access to this function.”

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