Agriculture MEP Hails Massive European Parliament Backing for Sheep and Goat Plan

19 June 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Thursday) hailed the adoption by a massive majority of 494 votes to 30 of the Aylward Report on the Sheep and Goat Sector in the EU.

The Report contains a number of positive measures for the sheep and goat sector, and in particular recommends that tagging and electronic identification of sheep should be on an opt in basis.

Mr Smith, the only Scots MEP to speak in the debate, said after the vote:

"I'm delighted, this report has been a ray of sunshine for Scotland's sheep farmers, and to see it go through with such a majority just as the Highland Show starts at Ingliston is nice timing to boot. The size of the majority today shows that we are pushing at an open door in the European Parliament, and hopefully the Commission will call a halt to these disastrous tagging proposals.

"I have a lot of work underway with the sheep sector in Scotland to draw attention to just how unworkable these proposals are, and personally I think there is still scope for a great deal of movement on the issue.

"But this report deals with more than tagging, and my one regret is that the proposals for an implementation task force have been massively watered down today. As I said in the debate I have seen too many good reports and worthy recommendations come to nothing and I will redouble my efforts to make sure this report is implemented in full."