The campaign against the introduction of compulsory electronic sheep identification (EID) has taken a step forward.

After a cross-party group of MEPs launched a written declaration calling for the EU Commission to ditch plans for the legislation.

The MEPs are calling for support from colleagues to join the campaign so that the opposition to EID is officially registered within the EU.

The MEPs said the proposed scheme would be ‘unworkable and ineffective’, as well as hugely expensive and difficult to implement for the sheep farming industry which is a sector already in decline.

Decimation

Two of the MEPs, Neil Parish and Jim Nicholson issued a joint statement which said EID, would ‘decimate Britain’s 90,000 sheep producers’.

Mr Parish is chairman of the EU Parliament’s agriculture and rural development committee and he said: “These tags are far too expensive and offer no clear additional benefits to animal health.

“While this technology may be suitable for sheep on dry plains in the middle of Spain it is virtually impossible to use half way up a mountain in the middle of a storm.”

“Britain’s 33 million sheep help shape our countryside, and their loss would result in a significant deterioration in the landscape.

Praise

The group of politicians backing the campaign also includes Welsh MEP Jill Evans who has won the praise of the Farmers Union of Wales.

FUW deputy president Emyr Jones said that EID was “yet another case of EU bureaucrats who have no idea what it is like to farm in the mountains of Wales introducing rules that they themselves will probably never have to deal with”.

“We therefore fully support the work of Jill Evans and her colleagues in Europe in their fight against EID, and we would encourage all MEPs to sign up to the declaration.”

The written declaration will be recorded in the official minutes of the EU Parliament and communicated to other relevant EU institutions if it is signed by a majority of MEPs within three months.

Meanwhile a joint report by the Country Land and Business Association and the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association has warned of the serious damage the introduction of EID would cause to farm livelihoods.

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