28 March 1997

Cattle ID rules hit MAFF plans

EU CATTLE identification rules, agreed by farm ministers make a nonsense of MAFFs plans, NFU leaders say.

Bill Madders, chairman of an industry working party, told NFU council that one of the encouraging points to emerge from the EU agreement was that passports would not be required once a computer database was in place.

But that made an even greater nonsense of MAFFs proposal to add paper movements to the current passport, he said.

A major information technology company was in the process of developing an alternative identification system which would be completed by early April. And the NFU was asking MAFF not to complete its plans until the private project was finished to allow a comparison of the two systems, he said.

The EU rules, agreed last week, are due to apply from Jan 1, 1998, and will require double tagging of all cattle. But computerised databases do not have to be fully operational until Dec 31, 1999. &#42