MAFF has launched a new campaign to remind farmers that passports for all cattle born or imported into Britain after July 1, 1996, are compulsory.
Cattle without passports cant be traded or sold for human consumption. Failure to comply could result in a fine of £5000 for each offence. Leaflets, posters and advertising will be used to remind farmers that the law applies to all cattle.
A MAFF official said there was no indication that farmers were deliberately flouting the rules. But the ministry believed some farmers, who bred their own replacements and had no intention of selling those animals, still did not realise they needed passports.
Nearly 2.3m passports have been issued since their introduction a year ago. Junior farm minister, Jeff Rooker, stressed that under the Florence agreement the UK was committed to having an effective and robust cattle identification system.
"We are determined to make the system work. The rules are clear. Those who do not follow them run a serious risk of prosecution. Having animals without passports could prove a very expensive business for them," he said. *