EU may offer concessions over second-tag details
By Tony McDougal
CATTLE farmers seem set to have won concessions from the European Commission over adding management details to their second tag.
Although proposed European legislation on double tagging was once again stalled by the Italians over the commissions attempts to introduce an all-numerical system for cattle, the argument over adding management details seems to have been won.
Carol Lloyd, NFU livestock spokeswoman, said the addition of management details would provide greater information and flexibility, particularly for suckler producers.
MAFFs commitment to introduce double tagging from Jan 1 was shown this week with its decision to give industry just six weeks (Nov 21) to consult on its cattle identification and registration document.
Ms Lloyd said that some concessions had been won by industry. MAFF has accepted that where an ear-tag from a double-tagged animal is lost in transport, it will be able to continue its journey, as long as the identity of the animal can be verified.
Cattle passports and cattle identification documents will be amalgamated, saving farmers paperwork, when the national cattle database is up and running next year.
But beef farmers will have to tag their animals within 20 rather than 30 days of birth after 2000, bringing them closer to dairy farmers, who have to tag stock within 36 hours.
No approved list
Kim Brake, National Cattle Association spokeswoman, welcomed the decision to allow a degree of flexibility for the second tag, but said she was concerned that tag manufacturers still did not have a MAFF-approved list of tags.
"We hope that will be in the hands of tag manufacturers no later than November," she added.
A MAFF spokeswoman said that all approved tags were expected to get secondary tag approval, and that a list of primary tags should be available next week. *