ICSA: ‘Factories must have EID tag readers before June’

Factories and marts must have electronic identification (EID) tag readers in place before June 1 this year, by which time all sheep leaving a farm must be identified electronically.

That’s the message of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) which argued that factories and marts should be held accountable for the reading of tags when that date comes.

Sean McNamara, the association’s sheep chairman, pointed out that “The June deadline is fast approaching. Sheep farmers have had to invest in EID tags since last October.”

In addition, a digital printout must be provided as a matter of course. EID was sold to sheep farmers on the basis that cumbersome paperwork would be eliminated. I see absolutely no urgency of the part of factories to comply with this so far.

Despite receiving reassurances from Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, McNamara is still not certain that 100% of EID tags will be able to be read after June 1.

“If it was never compulsory for marts and factories to install EID readers and it’s still not compulsory for them to do so, it remains to be seen if this will happen,” he warned.

“Factories have never had to read 100% of lambs presented for slaughter and the appetite is just not there to do it now. It will be up to the Department of Agriculture if there will be any repercussions for those marts and factories who don’t install the necessary readers by June,” continued McNamara.

In the meantime it’s the ones that can least afford it, the sheep farmers, who are bearing all the cost, and for what?

McNamara concluded his remarks by saying: “Unless it comes to pass that 100% of sheep and lambs passing through marts and factories are read, there can be absolutely no justification for farmers to continue to purchase EID tags and farmers should be reimbursed.”