Calls for Wales to mirror EU cattle reporting

The Welsh government is being urged to bring Wales in line with the EU’s seven-day time limit on cattle movement reporting.

Currently, Welsh cattle movements must be reported within three days or farmers incur cross-compliance penalties.

The president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW), Emyr Jones, said bringing Wales in line with EU rules could significantly reduce penalties applied in Wales and the resultant net financial loss to the country’s economy.

Mr Jones has written to Wales’ farm minister, Alun Davies, after challenging remarks made by the minister at the Wales Farming Conference relating to the percentage of farmers in Wales who report movements within three days.

Mr Davies had suggested that in 2012 only 30% of farmers had reported movements within three days and that an extension to seven-day reporting would still see 45% of farmers failing to report on time.

But the Welsh government has now clarified that these figures relate to the percentage of individual farmers who correctly reported every cattle movement within the three-day period. Therefore, a farmer who in 2012 was 99% compliant would still be among the 70% considered to have failed to meet the deadline.

Figures now obtained by the FUW show that in 2012, 94% of cattle movements were reported within the EU’s seven-day deadline, while 79% were in fact reported within the Welsh three-day deadline.

“As such, 16% of cattle movements which comply with EU requirements would, upon inspection, be considered as Cross Compliance breaches – with a number of these the result of postal delays, as opposed to late reporting per se,” said Mr Jones.

He said Gareth Williams’ 2011 Working Smarter review had concluded that an extension to seven-day reporting would see 94% of cattle movements reported on time, as was the case in 2012.

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