29 September 2000

Tagging confusion lingers

IN response to criticism from some industry experts that new sheep and goat tagging legislation is unclear, MAFF has tried to resolve confusion over renting keep away from the holding of birth.

But it still appears that producers must make their own minds up when it comes to tagging sheep that will be off their holding during this winter.

The new legislation, which comes into force on Jan 1, 2001, in England and Wales, states that any animal must be tagged before it leaves its holding of birth.

According to MAFF, this does include any grass keep, even if sheep are to be returned to their holding of birth at a later date.

A MAFF spokesperson told farmers weekly that any sheep being moved to a separate holding should be tagged after Jan 1, 2001.

But the legislation still remains open to interpretation because despite a New Year deadline and instructions to tag as soon as possible, MAFF says farmers still have a full year to decide when it is the best time to tag sheep.

There are two exceptions when sheep can be moved without a tag under the new legislation; either when sheep are being taken to the vet or when goats are being tattooed, according to a MAFF spokesperson. &#42