21 April 1998
September launch for cattle tracing system

By Trevor Mason, Press Association

THE new computerised system for tracing cattle movements in the wake of the BSE crisis will be launched on 28 September, agriculture minister Dr Jack Cunningham announced last night.

Dr Cunningham said the new system, which will be run from Workington, Cumbria, will register cattle and their movements from birth to death.

All cattle farmers, livestock markets and operators of abattoirs in Great Britain are being sent details of how the new system will work.

In a Commons written reply, Dr Cunningham said: “The system is an enhancement to the current cattle passport database which already holds details of over five million cattle born or imported into Great Britain from 1 July, 1996.

Dr Cunningham said the main difference between the current passport system and the new computer tracing system was that the movement history of cattle born after 28 September, 1998 would be recorded. The current system only records the animals birth and death.

“A new organisation, the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), is being set up in Workington, Cumbria, to run the Cattle Tracing System (CTS). Recruitment is going well, with applications of high quality; buildings have been handed over on time; the main equipment has been installed and development of the new system is in hand.

“The Government is today sending to all cattle farmers, livestock markets, and operators of abattoirs in Great Britain a leaflet about CTS. The leaflet gives details of the new cattle passport which will be introduced as part of the CTS.

“The new passport will include details of the animal, details of where it has been throughout its life, cards for owners of cattle to send in when the animal moves, a record of Beef Special Premium and, eventually, details of the death of the animal.

“The leaflet we are sending out today is the first in a series which will be sent to cattle farmers between now and the launch of CTS on September 28, to familiarise everyone with their role in the new system.

Dr Cunningham said the new system would make it possible to check where cattle had been during their lives, trace cattle more easily if there is a disease outbreak and give greater assurance to buyers about an animals history. He said CTS would help to rebuild confidence in British cattle and British beef, at home and abroad.