Whether tag or tattoo – cost is high
PROPOSALS to tag the entire UK flock of 39m sheep and goats before they leave the holding of birth would cost the industry at least £6m, industry leaders warn.
And, they believe, with up to 30% of the national flock likely to lose tags during their lifetime, the overall cost could be substantially higher.
John Thorley, National Sheep Association secretary, said there were also disease transmission problems related to ear-tagging, such as the spread of flystrike and orf.
The NFUs livestock and wool committee has decided to set up a working party, under its chairman David Williams, to discuss MAFFs proposals for sheep and goat identification (News, Oct 17). Government is currently consulting on whether all sheep and goats should be tagged or tattooed when leaving their holding of birth, or whether the measures should apply only animals going for export.
The NFU working party will include exporters, lowland and upland sheep farmers, and representatives from the animal health and less favoured area committees. It will meet next week. The union added that there would also be full consultation with members at regional level. *