Farmers facing a dangerous situation trying to tag new-born calves can apply to the British Cattle Movement Service for an extension to the 20-day deadline.

NFU Scotland took up the issue with the Scottish Executive following the death two months ago of one of their leading members, Bob Cumming, Baldavie, Banff, who was fatally injured by a cow.

Vice-president Nigel Miller said the union wanted to ensure that cattle ID requirements can be operated without farmers being exposed to unnecessary risks when tagging calves.

Dangerous

“The 20-day rule remains in place,” Mr Miller stressed. “However, as many injuries and even some tragic deaths have shown, the process of tagging calves can be a dangerous one shortly after calving when the protective instincts of the mother are strong.”

Mr Miller welcomed a concession from BCMS to grant extensions to the 20-day deadline “in particular circumstances”.

“This is hugely positive and the obvious answer to the risks that many people face,” he said. “Hopefully, flexibility will ensure that there are no more deaths or injuries from the calf tagging process.”

Farmers facing high-risk situations are urged to contact BCMS or seek advice from the farmers’ unions.