9 July 1999

Tag rules get tougher soon

CATTLE producers face tighter tagging and BCMS registration deadlines from Jan 1, 2000, and the NFU is urging farmers to lobby MPs and MEPs against the change.

Speaking to FARMERS WEEKLY, NFU livestock policy adviser Carol Lloyd says as of Jan 1, beef and dairy producers will be forced to tag calves within 20 days of birth and register them within seven days. Current deadlines are 30 days for tagging and 15 days for registration.

"This new time-scale will be too tight for many producers, particularly as many tend to deal with tagging and registering animals on a monthly basis. It adds to bureaucracy and means fire fighting all the time," says Ms Lloyd.

"The problem is that MAFF cant ask for any leeway; it has already asked for derogations and extensions on other EU legislation, and it faces losing any political clout if it asks for this to be delayed."

Ms Lloyd believes that the only option open to producers is to lobby their MPs and MEPs. "Tell them that the timescale is too short, and about the impact the change would have on your business.

"Its important to write as soon as possible – the commission comes back from its summer recess in August, leaving only a few months to obtain an extension," she adds.