Scots hail unexpected EID victory

SCOTTISH sheep farmers won an unlikely victory in Brussels after Euro-MPs recommended an urgent review of the controversial new EID regulations.

Nigel Miller, NFU Scotland vice-president, was in the Belgian capital with George Milne from the National Sheep Association to formally present a petition signed by 8,200 Scottish farmers opposing the EID regulation to the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee.

Although the regulation does not come into force until the end of this year, the Petition Committee chairman welcomed the petition and recommended a prompt review of the new rules in the New Year.

Mr Miller said: “Having Sheep EID discussed in Brussels again is part of a wholly justifiable campaign for fundamental change in the future that will not go away.

“As all Member States wake up to the implications of implementing the EID regulation this January, we plan to keep the issue in the spotlight.”

Mr Miller concluded the Petition Committee chairman’s decision to recommend ‘a prompt review of the regulation’ was ‘a very good outcome to our trip’.

But he added: “Unfortunately, the debate will not alter that fact that we have a matter of weeks left to try and find some kind of workable format for its implementation in Scotland and we will continue to work with Scottish Government to deliver that.”

The regulation will make it obligatory for all sheep farmers to electronically tag sheep born after 31 December 2009 and keep a record of animals’ individual identities every time they move.

Alyn Smith, MEP for the Scottish National Party, hailed the support for sheep farmers from the Petitions Committee as ‘an unexpected hit’.

He said: “I had expected a pretty lukewarm response from the Committee given that we are now barely 30 days from the implementation deadline, but I was delighted that they accepted my case that we should turn the spirit of the petition into a call for a review, with teeth, of how the implementation works out.

“This package will not do what it says on the tin, and while I am glad that we have scored some successes in chipping out some of the more awkward provisions, I still feel that this needs more work. 

“As we look to the implementation deadline it is clear that there remain real concerns, and real question marks, over how this will work.  This can hardly be said to be good regulation.

“I look forward to the Agriculture Committee and Petitions Committee overseeing a review of the implementation, and where we find fault with how it works in practice I’m more confident now than I was this morning that we will indeed be able to ram home changes to it.”

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