14 November 1997

Producers to pay for passports

LIVESTOCK farmers will pay the running costs of the cattle traceability scheme through a one-off fee of between £5-£10 for cattle passports.

Junior farm minister Jeff Rooker has also announced that auction markets and abattoirs will be able to use electronic mail to report cattle movements to the new central computer database at Guildford.

Maximum charge

Bill Madders, chairman of the industry cattle database working group, said the charge should be kept to a maximum of £5. "Consultants say the cost of running the database will be £18m if based on an all-card system with an estimated throughput of 3.5m calves a year.

"Systematic savings through the use of E-mail can bring this down further, and we will be pushing for maximum use among marts and abattoirs."