NFUS continues sheep-tagging campaign

NFU Scotland (NFUS) is continuing its campaign against EU sheep-tagging proposals, which it claims are "unworkable".

The campaign - against the proposal by the European Commission to double-tag sheep and individually identify and record movements - is now in its fourth month and the Union is planning a big presence at this year's summer agricultural events.

NFUS has stressed that its petition against the legislation, run in conjunction with The Scottish Farmer, needs the support of all the nation's sheep farmers if it is to have an impact. The petition calls on the European Commission to change the current double-tagging rules and not introduce electronic identification (EID) until it is proven to be cost-effective and based on batch movements only.

Nigel Miller, NFUS vice-president, said: "Scotland's sheep industry must speak out and send a resounding message to Brussels that these proposals are not acceptable.

"We have the current nightmare of double-tagging and the threat on the horizon of individual movement recording and being forced to accept an EID system, which might not be fit for purpose. Batch movement of sheep is the cornerstone upon which the Scottish sheep sector is built.

"Such a large and highly stratified industry needs to be able to move many thousands of sheep in as simple and practical a method as possible.

"But even before you begin to consider the practicality, the cost of what the proposals would seek to introduce would, in all likelihood, destroy the Scottish sheep sector.

"If you haven't already, please sign the petition. The only way we can fight regulation that has the potential to destroy our industry is by uniting and demonstrating how and why it cannot work. For the petition to be truly effective, it must be signed by virtually every sheep producer in the country. Scotland must take the lead."

The petition can be signed online at: www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/sheeptaggingpetition or at The Scottish Farmer and NFU Scotland stands at all the large regional agricultural shows over the summer, including ScotSheep on Wednesday 4 June.

It will culminate at the Lairg Sheep Sale on Wednesday 13 August, after which time it will be presented to the new EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Androulla Vassiliou.