Scots continue EID campaign

Scottish farming leaders have used a meeting with the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee to agree to a prompt review of controversial new regulations on electronic identification (EID) of sheep.

The regulations, which come into force at the end of the year, will make it obligatory for all Scottish sheep-keepers to electronically tag any sheep born after 31 December 2009 and keep a record of animals’ individual identities every time they move.

NFU Scotland argues that the rules would be “damaging” to Scottish sheep farmers and is trying to encourage ministers to change the regulation. Having already attended number of meetings with European officials, NFU Scotland vice-president Nigel Miller was back in Brussels today (Tuesday, 1 December) to formally meet with the Petitions Committee on the regulation.

Speaking from Brussels, Miller said: “As a Union, we remain committed to seeking fundamental changes to controversial sheep identification regulations in the future – the 8,200 people who signed the Scottish EID petition last year would expect no less. Having sheep EID discussed in Brussels again is part of a wholly justifiable campaign for fundamental change in the future that will not go away.

“As all Member States wake up to the implications of implementing EU Regulation 21/2004 this January, we plan to keep the issue in the spotlight. We will continue to do that until Commission officials finally comprehend the unnecessary cost and bureaucracy they have heaped on all European sheep-keepers and agree to a prompt review of this poor piece of legislation.”

Miller added that NFU Scotland will also continue to work with the Scottish government, which is currently considering how to implement the rules in Scotland.

“What is apparent from discussions with the Commission today is that funding is available to help all European sheep-keepers manage the transition to electronic tagging,” he said.

“With Scottish Government help, we will immediately look at how we can draw that money down into Scotland’s rural development pot so that Scottish sheep farmers can receive support for the additional costs their businesses face as a result of this regulation.”