10 September 1999

Farmer attacks BCMS for cattle passport delays

By Isabel Davies

A FARMER who moved his dairy herd from Northern Ireland to the south-west of England has attacked the British Cattle Movement Service for "unacceptable delays" after being forced to wait six months for his cattle passports.

Raymond Quinn of Treharoch Farm, St Kew, Penndogget, Cornwall, is unable to get rid of his cull cows because the British Cattle Movement Service will not issue passports for some of his animals.

Although he applied for passports for his 230 animals when he moved from Ulster five months ago, he is still waiting for about 70 to be returned.

"BCMS appear to be a law unto themselves," said Mr Quinn, who was first told that because some of his animals did not have a UK tag he would have to retag them all.

"I moved at the end of March and was told they could not register these animals because they had changed their computer system," he said.

Mr Quinn was then told by an official that if he was prepared to wait until Aug 1, BCMS would then be able to sort things out without retagging. But he has heard nothing since.

He believes he has been reasonable about the delay, but is now finding it increasingly unacceptable because it is costing him money.

"I now have at least 20 cull cows that I would like to get away," he said. Yet without a passport Mr Quinn is unable to sell or move an animal from his holding except to a hunt kennel or knackeryard, and then only under a special licence.

"It is ridiculous. This has gone on far too long," Mr Quinn said.

David Crellin, head of operations at BCMS, agreed the delays had been unacceptable and said the problem was with the computer database.

He hoped the problems would be resolved within the next fortnight and added that 99% of passports were produced within 10 working days of an application arriving at BCMS. &#42