10 September 1999
BCMS admits cattle passport delays
By Isabel Davies
A FARMER who moved his dairy herd from Northern Ireland to south-west England was forced to wait six months for his cattle passports.
Raymond Quinn of St Kew, Penndogget, Cornwall, is unable to sell cull cows because the British Cattle Movement Service refused passports for some animals.
Although he applied for passports for his 230 animals when he moved from Ulster five months ago, he is still waiting for about 70 to be returned.
BCMS appear to be a law unto themselves, said Mr Quinn, who was first told that he would have to retag all of his cattle.
I moved at the end of March and was told they could not register these animals because they had changed their computer system, he said.
Mr Quinn was told by an official that BCMS would then be able to sort everything out without retagging if he waited until 1 August. But he has heard nothing since.
He believes he has been reasonable about the delay, but is now finding it increasingly unacceptable because it is costing him money.
I now have at least 20 cull cows that I would like to get away, he said.
But without a passport Mr Quinn is unable to sell or move an animal from his holding except to a hunt kennel or knackeryard, and then only under a special licence.
It is ridiculous, Mr Quinn said. This has gone on far too long.
David Crellin, head of operations at BCMS, agreed that the delays had been unacceptable and said the problem was with the computer database.
He hoped the problems would be resolved within the next fortnight and added that 99% of passports were issued within 10 working days of an application arriving.