Practice movement run answers some farmer concerns
WHAT are the concerns on-farm?
To find out, Mr Armstrong agreed to take part in a simulated lifetime movement of an imaginary bull calf born on the farm.
With the calf already ear-tagged it was necessary to complete the initial passport application form issued by BCMS. A supply of these forms has been issued and are pre-printed to match the ear-tag numbers held by the farm.
Having selected the pre-printed form matching the ear-tag already inserted into the calfs ear, the details concerning its date of birth, breed, sex, dams ear-tag number and sire details are completed. The passport application form is then posted off to BCMS at Workington.
The animals cattle passport is then issued to the owner, and bears its ear-tag number and all other relevant details as given on the application form. The passports of male animals will carry the dates that BSP claims should be made.
"As the owner I need to make the passport live, and to do that I need to place my bar-code name and address sticker on the page marked first movement summary and sign it," says Mr Armstrong.
The calf remains on-farm until it is to be moved to the auction mart to be sold as a finished beast. Mr Armstrong has to complete the first movement summary section of the passport by placing a bar-code sticker on the page, giving date of movement off-farm and his signature.
So the BCMS is aware of the animals movement, a movement card has also to be completed. This requires another bar-code sticker, a tick to denote the animal is leaving the farm and a signature. This card is then posted to BCMS.
The cattle passport must accompany the animal to the market. On arrival the passport is handed in to the market office. The details on the passport have to be updated to show that the animal has passed through the market.
The next space on the movement summary section of the passport must be completed by the market which will give the date of the animals movement through the market premises. In addition a movement card must be completed, ticking the relevant market movement box; it must be signed, carry the markets bar-code sticker and then posted to BCMS.
The person leaving the market with the beast will collect its cattle passport. Assuming the beast is going directly to the abattoir, the buyer must then check the passport, report the movement using the death section at the back of the cattle passport book, (label, date and sign as before) and hand the passport to the Meat Hygiene Service for a final check before it is returned to the BCMS.
"Once you have mastered the routine of sticking, ticking, dating and signing these forms it is not too difficult. It looks complicated at first but the more you do the more familiar you become with the layout and wording of the sections on the passport," says Mr Armstrong.
Mr Evans says: "The key is to remember that every time an animal is moved that movement has to be recorded on the cattle passport and it has to be notified, using tear-off movement cards, to BCMS at Workington."
The BCMS centre at Workington is gearing-up for the huge influx of movement cards and has a sophisticated checking procedure to query any written details that may be unclear to the computerised scanners. All data from these cards is stored at Workington and in an additional archive.
"I believe that once farmers have got to grips with this system they will find it straightforward," says Mr Evans. *
• Use helpline where necessary.
• Looks complicated at first.
• Easier once completed one.
Mr Armstrong and Mr Evans match the pre-printed passport application form to the calfs ear-tag number.