ENGLISH BEEF producers should check their animal paperwork and weed out documents relating to dead animals, the English Beef and Lamb Executive has urged.

Cattle Tracing System rules say the passports of animals under 24 months of age dying on-farm must be returned to BCMS within seven days.

Equally, the passports of animals that die at over 24 months must be sent with the stock when they are disposed of through the designated BSE-testing channels.

BCMS has declared an amnesty for farmers that have not returned passports in an effort to clean up the system in time for an EU veterinary inspection in June.
 
Overall, movement anomalies in the system have been cut from 1.2 million in the spring of 2003 to just 400,000 at the start of this year.
 
Encouragingly too, data errors in registration have been halved over the past two years.

In parallel, the percentage of registrations made electronically through CTS on-line has virtually doubled from 20% in early 2003 to 38% today.

This underlines both the value of electronic registration in eliminating errors at source and the extent to which producers are finding it an easy and convenient way of applying for cattle passports.

Even so, BCMS records show around 2000 animals a month being denied full passports through late applications.

This means they are excluded from entering the human food chain, forcing serious losses on individual producers.
 
EBLEX accepts that ensuring all CTS paperwork is kept accurate and up-to-date can be seen as an additional chore for some producers.

But an effort is necessary to meet the conditions needed for a change in the OTM rule and a  resumption of bone-in beef exports within the year.