17 January 1996

Government moves to alter cattle passports

CHANGES to the cattle passport system have been proposed by government.

It is just over six months since compulsory passports were introduced, and junior farm minister Angela Browning said government believed it was now time to consider improvements to the scheme.

MAFF plans to introduce a new application form, with many of the details, like holding number and farm address, pre-printed on it.

That, said Mrs Browning, would make the form easier for farmers to complete, and should also allow officials to process passport applications more quickly.

"Once this has happened, we would aim to dispense with calf passports except for animals for the calf processing aid scheme," she said. Consultation on the changes ends on Feb 21.

Since July 1, 1996, almost 900,000 full passports have been issued in Britain. A MAFF official said the ministrys current commitment was to issue a passport within 14 days of the forms being received. The new pre-printed forms should cut that turnaround time in half. &#42