EU Bovine EID Proposals Welcomed

31 August 2011
Scottish Member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) welcomed European Commission proposals on the electronic identification (EID) of bovine animals.
Alyn, a long time opponent of sheep EID, has praised the Commission for their decision to make an EU bovine EID system voluntary for the time being, thereby allowing considerable opportunity for the market to resolve any initial problems with the technology before any mandatory system is introduced. Alyn has also urged Scotland's farmers to feed into the political process at this early stage in order to make sure that the eventual regulation fits well into the shape of Scottish agriculture.

Alyn said:

"We knew that this proposal was coming down the tracks at us but, unusually, I am quite pleased to see it. The bovine ID system has needed something of a spring-clean for some time now and this proposal should do just that, as the focus is quite clearly on sweeping away a great deal of the unnecessary bureaucracy that exists currently.

"I am heartened that the Commission has learnt from experience that introducing a brand new system which relies on new and untested technology on a mandatory basis is less than wise, and that they have therefore built in necessary flexibility into these proposals. Really EID should have been trialed first on cattle, then moved across to sheep, but we are where we are and at least it seems that some lessons have been learnt. The line "mandatory EID throughout the Union may have economically adverse effects on certain operators. It is therefore appropriate that a voluntary regime for the introduction of EID is established..." is only ten years late in appearing, and is of little comfort to our sheep farmers, but it is welcome all the same.

"Nevertheless, this proposal is a better one than what we saw for sheep and goats, and does allow for a lengthy consultation process, as well as allowing Member States to tailor the regulation to better fit their sectors, and so it is to be welcomed.

"Scotland's farmers must make sure that they communicate any problems that arise as they roll this out on their farms so we can better shape this regulation to not only not hinder our cattle farmers, but also act as an improvement on the current bureaucratic processes."