Scots meet in Brussels on EID issues

THE ongoing concerns over the impact of electronic identification (EID) of sheep on Scotland’s sheep farmers is being discussed at a meeting in Brussels today.

Representatives from the National Sheep Association (Scotland), accompanied by Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP, are due to meet Joao Pacheco, deputy director general of the European Commission’s agriculture and rural development section.

Mr McGrigor said the meeting was the result of a previous meeting he had had with Mr Pacheco in Brussels when he outlined sheep producers’ worries.

Speaking before today’s meeting, he aded: “EID of sheep remains a major issue for sheep farmers in Scotland. I hope this will be an opportunity for Mr Pacheco and his officials to learn from the ‘coal face’ of sheep production the severe problems faced by the Scottish sheep industry in relation to the application of EID and additional bureaucracy and costs it has placed on our producers.”

Also due to take part in the meeting are NSA Scotland chairman Jimmy Sinclair and regional secretary and development officer George Milne.

Mr Sinclair said it was important the Commission fully understood the problems EID had caused the Scottish sheep industry and that a common sense approach was developed during 2012.

Mr Milne added: “Solutions to the recording and movement of sheep must be found in the early part of this year. The industry cannot find itself in the same position as last year when on-farm inspections begin.

“The regulation as it stands delivers more identification and record keeping when the animals are still on their holding of birth, moving nowhere and are no disease threat. This is the message that we will be aiming to put over to the Commission.

“It is absolutely ridiculous that we have to work with these rules which are delivering the wrong outcome. Surely the common-sense approach is to have the best traceability when the sheep move. Let’s hope the Commission understands the situation and has a full review of the regulation.“

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