17 December 1998
NSA warns of tag troubles

NATIONAL Sheep Association officials took the chance during a recent meeting with farm minister Nick Brown to highlight the enormous problems the governments sheep identification proposals could cause.

According to John Thorley, NSA chief executive, the minister was told that the proposals, if implemented in their current form, would create serious difficulties for the sheep industry as a whole.

Producers would be required to individually tag or tattoo each animal with a UK and flock number and then record this number each time the animal moved. That level of record keeping would force big changes and spell the end of a viable industry, Mr Thorley said.

The NFU is also opposed to the extra record keeping that could be forced on the industry. It is still consulting its members about a more practical solution, but is likely to recommend that a paint mark system is retained for recording movements.

MAFFs consultation ends on 31 December, and new rules could be in place by the spring.

Mr Thorley said the NSA was due to meet MAFF officials soon for further discussions and that the association would push for more workable alternatives.