Sheep database moves step closer

The prospect of computerised database to replace paper-based movement records for sheep has moved a step closer.

The principle a database managed and run in a partnership between government and industry won backing from the National Sheep Association at a mneeting on Wednesday (21 September).

Chairman Jonathan Barber said: “A database could replace the present paper movement recording process which is not delivering the security the industry needs.”

Mr Barber said it was essential to replace the current system.

“Our sheep industry which is continually developing, deserves the best movement recording system available.

“However it is essential that the present technology, which includes EID tags, chips and readers, is of the highest quality to ensure accuracy and consistency.”

Mr Barber said the new system must be fair to all sheep farmers.

“At the moment many feel threatened by the possibility of small mistakes beyond their control resulting in large financial penalties to their businesses. This must be addressed.”

At a time when the world was losing sheep farmers at an alarming rate, British sheep producers were continuing to deliver a top quality product.

Mr Barber retired from the position of sheep association following the council meeting. He is succeeded by John Geldard of Cumbria, who takes on the role following a unanimous vote in favour.

Mr Geldard said: “It is vital the sheep sector has a traceability system that stands up to scrutiny in the event of an exotic disease outbreak. It is essential we protect trade and our export market.’

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