‘No logic’ to new sheep tagging rules

There is “no logic” to new rules regarding the compulsory use of electronic identification (EID) tagging on all sheep, according to the deputy chair of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) Livestock Committee, Denis Carroll.

The announcement earlier this week that all sheep must be EID tagged prior to slaughter after October 1, 2018, demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the sheep sector on the part of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, Carroll added.

Commenting on the development, the Kerry sheep farmer said: “A meeting held over two years ago on sheep tagging is not a substitute for a proper consultation of the matter and we are bitterly disappointed that stakeholders weren’t adequately consulted on this matter.”

The new regulations mean that all sheep sent for slaughter must be EID tagged or bolused.

Continuing, Carroll said: “There is no logic to this regulation; the EID tag provides no additional transparency for markets.

While there is a benefit for abattoirs and marts in terms of efficiency, there is zero benefit for the farmers – but the cost of this measure is being totally borne by the farmer, with EID tags three times more expensive than conventional tags.

“This is part of an established and ongoing pattern, where more and more regulation and cost is being imposed on the farmers – with any benefits accruing going to the processors and others.

“The minister has stated that this will provide for an improved traceability system, which will assist marketing strategies. We challenge the minister to actually demonstrate this additional benefit before lumping these prohibitive extra costs on farmers.

“Our question is what exactly are we paying for and what exactly do the farmers bearing the cost get out of this?” Carroll asked.