Welsh farming organisations have vowed not to stop campaigning against the compulsory introduction of electronic identification tags.

Both the Farmers Union of Wales and NFU Cymru are set to give evidence to the EU agricultural committee in Brussels about the practical problems mandatory EID will create.

The unions will also step up efforts to generate support from farmers in countries like Holland and Spain, where the government picks up the bill for existing EID systems.

State funding for these countries will end when the regulation becomes law.

Nick Fenwick, Farmers Union of Wales director of policy, said he believed producers in other countries currently exempt from EID tagging would eventually face legislation forcing them to record animals.

EID

Speaking after a meeting between industry stake holders and Elin Jones, Wales’s minister of rural affairs, Dr Fenwick said that the union would continue to oppose compulsory EID “to the bitter end”.

Ed Bailey, NFU Cymru vice president, said the union had extended an urgent invitation to EU Commissioner for Health, Androulla Vasiliou, to visit Wales and see the folly of the EID plan.

“It is just another example of Brussels bureaucrats having pie in the sky ideas without any understanding of the practical realities of commercial sheep farming,” Mr Bailey said.

Ms Jones told union representatives that she shared their concerns about compulsory EID.

“As I have said within the assembly, I do not agree with it. But as things stand we have to implement it and ensure it is done effectively,” she said.

“Along with the UK Government, we have pressed the commission hard on EID and this has resulted in some concessions. However there is little general support in the EU for a review of the regulation.”

If the UK failed to implement the regulation from December 31, in 2009 there could be infraction proceedings, which in turn could lead to significant daily fines, a reduction in European funding, or trade restrictions.

“As such it is vital we work closely to ensure that we put in place a practical system that complies with the regulation.

“I am seeking the industry’s co-operation in taking this forward.”