3 March 2000

Easier life for Scots with EID

SCOTLANDS move towards adopting electronic identification and electronic data transfer in its national cattle herd should make life easier not just for farmers, but for the staff at the British Cattle Movement Service, too.

David Evans, BCMS director, told 250 delegates at a conference in Kinross last weekend, that, although Scottish farmers made fewer mistakes than their counterparts in England and Wales on passport application and cattle movement forms, the error rate of a paper-based system was still too high.

Mr Evans told the conference, organised by the Scottish Executive to discuss the introduction of EID and EDT (see News), that only 5% of passport applications were currently sent by e-mail, and just a fifth of all cattle movements were notified that way.

Any move to cut out paperwork and the errors that seem to go with it, would be a good thing, he said. At the moment, full traceability of the British herd could not be guaranteed, because of the errors and the time taken to try and rectify them.

Farm visits by BCMS staff showed that 12% of the farms in Britain had some problems with herd identification, while discrepancies in farm records were found in 18% of cases.

Introducing EID and EDT would not only speed up the whole process, but would also eliminate human error, Mr Evans said.

lMore on Scotlands EID and EDT proposals next week. &#42