IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said there are major issues with the electronic tagging of sheep (EID), which must be resolved before they inflict serious damage on the growth potential of the sheep sector.
“EID is not workable in terms of broader application in the sheep sector until the issues surrounding cross compliance, greater tolerances, reduced penalties and the animal welfare issue of sore and infected ears are dealt with. In addition, the failure of the technology resulting in only 80% to 90% accuracy in reading and the impracticalities of one tag for life and individual recording of tag numbers must be resolved.”
James Murphy said any attempt by the Department of Agriculture to impose unworkable EID rules and regulations on the sheep sector using cross compliance penalties and deadlines will only alienate producers and seriously undermine the significant growth potential in the sector under the Food Harvest 2020 plan.
The IFA Sheep Chairman said Minister Simon Coveney and the Department of Agriculture must actively pursue solutions to the impractical aspects of sheep EID at European level. He said following many years of attempting to apply EID, most countries now accept that the EU regulations are flawed and not fit for purpose. “It is clear that it has not been possible to successfully implement EID in most EU Member States and the practical application has failed at farm level in the main producing areas like the UK, Spain and Greece.”
He said Minister Coveney needs to support the case being made by the UK and particularly Scotland that animals only be tagged on leaving the holding. In addition, he said with a German legal case being taken in the European Court on EID, Ireland should continue to adopt a very minimalist approach.
James Murphy said that it is essential that Ireland continues to apply all of the current derogations in respect of tagging and EID.