IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said a new report from the EU Commission Food and Veterinary office highlights a whole series of practical problems with EID sheep tagging in both Ireland and the UK. He said based on this report the EU Commission must take on board the real problems with EID such as tag loss, cross compliance difficulties, one ID for life, tag quality, reading inaccuracies and a range of other issues.
James Murphy said it is clear from the report that the EID regulation is not fit for purpose and must be reviewed as soon as possible.
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader said the report highlights the technological difficulties with EID pointing out that there is a reading failure rate of about 6% reported in Scotland across 1.4m sheep. In practice, this means that EID failed to read about 84,000 sheep, leaving farmers liable for severe penalties under cross compliance and this problem is compounded because of a lack of reasonable tolerances.
The EU Commission points out that there are major problems with “a high loss rate on tags due to their being caught in fences and scrub such as gorse under extensive farming conditions.” The FVO report also highlights additional problems with poor design and poor quality of some tags which do not satisfactorily retain the electronic transporters.
The IFA sheep farmers’ leader said the report claims that implementation of EID is better in Spain and Portugal but points out that they are using rumen boluses as opposed to EID tags and a lot of their sheep are indoor in feedlots under completely different conditions. The FVO also points out that the EID boluses are applied by technicians and the costs are paid for by the respective governments.
IFA made a detailed presentation to the EU Commission FVO during their investigations in Ireland on the problems with EID implementation and continues to highlight these issues to the Commission in Brussels.
The EID situation has now moved on and at the most recent meeting in Brussels, producers from practically all member states were highlighting significant problems with EID implementation, he said. Many member states were reporting difficult animal welfare problems and sore ears in sheep from the use of EID. He said IFA has raised this problem with both the Department of Agriculture and the EU Commission.
Mr Murphy said it is vitally important that both DG Sanco and DG Agri in the EU Commission act immediately and move to address the very significant practical problems with EID through a full review of the regulation. In addition, he said the Department of Agriculture must continue to adopt a minimalist approach on implementation in Ireland as it is clear the technology and regulation are not fit for purpose.