The Ulster Farmers’ Union is calling on Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture (DAERA) to remove unnecessary bureaucracy from the cattle movement process.

The union argues cattle movement paperwork could be “streamlined significantly” by removing the compulsory requirement for hard copies of the MC2 document to accompany cattle when travelling for sale or slaughter.

‘Printing should be optional’

UFU animal health and welfare chairman, Desmond Fulton said in cases where both parties are comfortable using the online animal movement service (APHIS), an electronic copy of the MC2 document should be accepted.

“As more farmers embrace APHIS online for animal movements, it is important that we use this technology to reduce unnecessary paperwork and frustrations for farmers,” he said.

Where both parties are comfortable using APHIS online, it seems logical that an electronic movement document should suffice.

Fulton added: “With DAERA moving to provide more digital and online services, I would hope that it would look upon this suggestion favourably.

“At this point, the decision whether or not to print a copy for your own or the buyers’ records should be optional.”

The department first gave Northern Ireland farmers the option of maintaining their herds’ records solely online in 2016.