New Front Opened in Campaign Against Sheep EID

02 September 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Tuesday) hailed the response from MEPS to the publication of a Written Declaration he has drafted calling on the sheep EID proposals to be revisited and made voluntary. The Written Declaration will be available for other MEPs from across the EU to give their support to for three months. Should more than half of the MEPs sign the Declaration then it shall become the official policy of the European Parliament.


Today's move follows a delegation from Scotland's National Sheep Association and National Farmers Union of Scotland to Brussels where they presented a 6,000 signature petition to the European Parliament's Petitions Committee opposing compulsoryelectronic identification of sheep, and comes in advance of a formal evidence session to the Parliament's Agriculture Committee on the issue in October.

Smith said:

"I'm delighted the Written Declaration has made such a splash, and hope that we will continue to garner support from other MEPs to raise the temperature on this issue still further. I do detect movement on this issue as logic, science and indeed politics are on our side. The EID proposals were agreed by the Member State governments before the technology developed, and agreed to out of misplaced sentiment. Implementation of EID will not achieve the Commission's aims, will add costs and inconvenience to an industry on its knees and worse still will encourage more people to simply walk away from the sector, destock and let the land go to wild.

"This campaign still has a long way to go, but it is clear that the Member State governments must think this one through again. The implementation date has already been put back because the technology was not ready so change is possible.I would like to see the Council and Commission go one better and make a simple change from "mandatory" to "voluntary" so that if any farmer wants to introduce EID then good luck to him, but to inflict this flawed scheme on the sector now would turn the current trickle of people leaving the sector into a flood."