ID tattoo plans will add costs
NEW proposals which may lead sheep and goat farmers to have to tag or tattoo their animals to identify their birthplace will lead to extra costs and bureaucracy for the industry.
Both the National Sheep Association and the NFU are concerned that the additional proposals are leading the sheep industry down the same path as the cattle sector with its individual passports.
The MAFF consultation document, which stems from a European Council directive, provides industry with two options – either to tag/tattoo stock before they leave their holding or of birth, or to retain the status quo and only tag animals intended for export.
John Thorley, National Sheep Association secretary, said that in order to satisfy the increasing consumer requirements for trace- ability the status-quo option was realistically not acceptable.
Many upland sheep farmers also currently find it difficult to tell whether animals will go for export prior to selling them to be finished. Although there are problems with tags, Mr Thorley said the tattooing of sheep posed welfare problems and was more difficult to record.
But while the sheep industry was keen to provide traceability for the benefit of the consumer, it was not prepared to face the costs of the "horrendous bureaucracy facing the cattle industry".
It comes on top of the governments decision last week (FW, News, Oct 10) to press ahead with the removal of specified risk material from sheep, which could cost farmers £6m. *