20 July 1998
CLA hits out at cattle passport changes
By FWi staff
FARMERS could be left thousands of pounds out of pocket as a result of EU plans to impose a seven-day application period for cattle passports, landowners have warned.
The Country Landowners Association has condemned the new Cattle Tracing System (CTS) as “unworkable”, because it proposes to reduce the time limit for applications from 28 days to 15 days, and then just to seven days from 1 January, 2000.
Set to come into force on 28 September this year, the CTS will inflict harsh punishment on producers who fail to comply with regulations. Sanctions include the banning of animals from the food chain when they are the subject of late applications, and a temporary ban on the buying and selling of all cattle from the farm.
There are also fears that innocent clerical errors, caused by the rush to complete paperwork on time, could also attract financial penalties.
Responding to a Government consultation paper, the CLA has warned that the CTS proposals will create numerous problems for farmers. It has urged ministers to seek to re-negotiate the seven-day limit with the European Commission.
Julian Salmon, Mid-Wales CLA regional secretary, said the seven-day application limit would be difficult for farmers to meet to during family crises or busy times of the year.
“The task of gathering the relevant information and completing the application forms in only one week will be extremely difficult for anybody who is farming as a full-time occupation. It seems inevitable that there will be occasions when applications are delayed in the post, or mis-filed on arrival at the WOAD office,” he said.
“So we regard the immediate banning of an animal from the food chain in response to its owner missing the seven-day deadline to be unfair and unreasonable.
“Instead, we want to see the Government introduce some kind of penalty system to deal with late applications. Only if a farmer is extremely late in making an application should the banning of the animal from the food chain be an option.”
Farmers warned over cattle passports, FWi, 1 July 1998