The survey is the latest step in the campaign to reduce the impact of EID and obtain a derogation which would allow double tagging homebred ewes electronically only when they leave the farm. The evidence will be presented to European Commission officials in July.
“With the support of the Scottish government, our sheep farmers are doing their best to make this work but there is only so much that can be done to make a bad regulation better.”
Farmers will be questioned on the rates of destocking, why the process is taking place and what would help stem this tide. Mr Smith said the survey would gather real statistics and data on the impact that the regulation has had and would act as a microcosm for the effect across the whole country.
He explained: “Any pressure that can be brought to bear on the commission will help our case, whether it is now or in two years when the whole regulation is open for review. With the support of the Scottish government, our sheep farmers are doing their best to make this work but there is only so much that can be done to make a bad regulation better.
“However, I have no intention of giving up the fight now, or any time soon. We must, and we will make this workable for our farmers.”
Each farmer in Shetland will receive a copy of the survey through the post in the coming weeks. Survey responses will be treated confidentially and then destroyed after collation into one statistical document.