31 March 2000
Problems hit Scottish tagging plans

by Shelley Wright

INTRODUCING electronic identification (EID) in Scotlands national cattle herd is proving more difficult than was first anticipated.

A working group of industry representatives and government has met twice in the past fortnight and already identified a number of serious technical issues.

But Scottish NFU president Jim Walker and Scottish farm minister Ross Finnie insist the difficulties can be overcome.

“Introducing electronic identification on a national scale had never been attempted before,” said Mr Walker.

“So its hardly surprising that there are technical problems to iron out. The most important thing is that we dont rush into a system without ensuring we have the right technology in place.”

The problems include the lack of commercially available EID devices that can carry an animals unique UK identification number.

Another problem is that the British Cattle Movement Services database at Workington cannot provide information needed if the system is be beneficial.

Mr Walker said “Ways to overcome this are already being discussed, but there would be absolutely no point in us having electronic identification unless all the passport and movement information on individual animals is available”.