Scotland 'asleep on the job' over EID

SCOTLAND was ‘asleep on the job’ when the controversial EU regulations on the electronic identification of sheep came into being and were incorporated into Scottish law.

Claiming Scotland needed to learn lessons, Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has written to the convenor of the Holyrood Rural Affairs Committee, SNP colleague Rob Gibson, calling for a full Parliamentary Inquiry into how the regulations came to fruition and then became a legal obligation in Scotland.

He said an inquiry was needed to discover how Scotland could collectively have missed such a crucial EU issue and so it could not happen again.

“I have long said the EID rules are a case study in why it is important to pay attention to what is going on in Brussels, lest whatever is rumbling around comes down the tracks at you when it is too late to do much about it.

“Sir Humphrey might have viewed my call for an investigation into my own Government colleagues as fairly ‘courageous’ but I truly am tired of this whole dishonest, partial debate and we need clarity over what happened, who was in charge and who dropped the ball when the decisions were being nodded through.

“There have been some simply disgraceful politics over EID, and a few instances of selective amnesia that are nothing short of medical miracles. I am, however, not interested in allocating blame, I’m looking to see where it went wrong so that it cannot happen again. My own view is that we, collectively, Scotland, were simply asleep on the job.”

He said a full inquiry would be able to reflect on how and why the ‘seemingly incredible’ legal obligation came into being and what the Government, Parliament and industry did about it.

“EU rules happen for a reason. They are agreed by the governments of the member states, and approved by the MEPs as well, before they become law. Scotland was demonstrably part of all those discussions, yet nobody seems to have raised the massive practical difficulties with the legislation until it was effectively too late.”


Readers' comments (3)

  • I don't remember Scotland having the voice then that it has now. Westminster arrogance about Brussels and ignorance around all things agricultural and rural would have contributed to this disaster.

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  • What about double tagging? what is the need of that ruling, it is not for human health or animal health, why did the goverment even allow such nonsense in the first place. It was first on the list that is only getting longer, extra costs that are closing down rural Britian.

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  • There was plenty of objection to EID and double-tagging in 2003: see

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