30 June 1995

No double tagging

MAFF has rejected MPs demands for mandatory double tagging of cattle.

Replying to the Commons agriculture select committees call for the move (News, Apr 7) the government says it cannot justify making farmers double-tag calves now when they may soon have to switch to electronic tags to suit Brussels. But it accepts most of the cross-party committees other recommendations on cattle ID and registration, with reservations.

Though recognising setting up a national database may fit in with new arrangements introduced by the EU after 1996, it believes it is not yet cost-effective. Technology improvements leading to cheaper costs could alter the position, so it is considering bringing forward its feasibility study originally planned for 1996/97.

As to the MPs suggestion that MAFF should network its existing livestock databases it says it is already working in that direction and agrees it should explore the idea of further networking with industry databases. &#42