Plans afoot in department for EID tagging for cattle

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is looking into the possibility of bringing in compulsory electronic identification (EID) tagging for cattle, the department confirmed.

If it is to move towards this, the department said that a consultation process with sectoral and industrial stakeholders will have to be carried out.

A spokesperson for the department said: “The department is considering the merits of introducing mandatory electronic identification of bovines.

The development of any plan to implement EID will involve consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

Mandatory EID tagging is already in place for sheep. This process was beset with controversy, with farm organisations disgruntled over the fact that EID tagging was mandatory for farmers, while it was not mandatory for factories to have the necessary technology in place to read electronic tags.

For EID tagging in sheep, the department did roll-out a scheme to offset the cost to farmers of purchasing the tags.

That scheme subsidised by €1 the cost of each electronic sheep tag purchased (up to a maximum of 100 tags) in the first sheep tag order completed by a flock keeper over a 12-month period.

TB risk categories

In other department-related news, it was confirmed yesterday, Thursday, July 16, that a newly-developed individualised letter, providing TB-related information for herds, will issue to farmers over the coming weeks.

An individualised herd risk categorisation has been provided to herdowners in TB-related correspondence that farmers have received from the department for a number of years.

However, a department spokesperson explained that this information is “not intuitive and is of limited benefit in informing efforts by farmers to reduce a herd’s risk of TB”.

The intention of this new initiative is to provide details to farmers about a herd’s risk category that is “simple, clear and conveys sufficient information to enable farmers to make the decisions appropriate to their situation”, the spokesperson added.