The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) is calling for the requirement for the tagging of newborn lambs to be dropped, arguing that it is “an animal welfare issue”.

Sean McNamara, the association’s sheep chair, said today (Thursday, February 25) that the requirement for tagging newborn lambs sold through marts “is unwarranted and must be abolished”.

“There is no logic to this requirement,” McNamara argued.

It causes enormous stress to the lambs themselves, and it does nothing to enhance traceability.

He called for an exemption to this requirement for lambs aged six weeks and under, regardless of whether they are being sold through the mart or to other farms.

“Lambs at this age are still with the breeding ewe, and as such, the ewe tag should suffice for her offspring for this six-week period,” the ICSA sheep chair said.

McNamara labelled the requirement “absurd”, saying it has “no benefit”.

Small lambs should not be subjected to this totally unnecessary burden for no reason.

“This is an animal welfare issue and sheep farmers are completely justified in looking for this to be changed,” he concluded.

Since June 2019, all sheep regardless of age or destination (including lambs going to mart; to another farm; to a show; and for export; but not including lambs going direct to slaughter), must be identified with a full electronic identification (EID) tag set or full electronic bolus set.