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Flocks Must Abide by New Identification Rules
28/01/06

From this year, English sheep producers that do not conform to the new EU rules for animal identification and movement recording that came into force last July risk the penalty of having improperly or un-identified stock excluded from the food chain as well as losing subsidy payments, reminds the English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX).

 

swaledale hoggets

What is more, they could jeopardise the continuation of the UK’s hard-won temporary permission not to follow EU double-tagging requirements until 2008 beyond its current expiry date at the end of the coming April.

Under these circumstances, it is vital all flocks adhere to the detail of the new national rules for sheep and goat identification set out in Defra Guidance published last November.

For identification and movement purposes, the rules now define a holding as the main site and any land within 5 miles of its boundary. This distance is measured ‘as the crow flies’ from the nearest edge of the main site. Any land partially within the 5 mile limit or that touches land partially within the 5 mile limit is considered to be within the main holding.

All holdings entirely outside the 5 mile limit now require a separate official CPH number from the Rural Payments Agency (tel: 0845 603 7777) even if they are solely managed and controlled by the same keeper.

Any stock moved to these outside holdings - as well as to another keeper’s holding regardless of distance - has to be identified with an uniquely numbered ear tag of the appropriate type (most usually a ‘UK’ holding of birth or ‘S’ non-holding of birth tag). Temporary (paint) marks are no longer acceptable.

As well as correct tagging, all such external movements - including those to land solely managed and controlled by the same keeper - need to be accompanied by an official movement document (form AML1) which must be copied to the local authority by the keeper  receiving the animals.

Although an official movement document and report to the local authority is not required for any movements to outlying fields within the main holding but separate from the main site, the rules stipulate they should be recorded in the flock register so the whereabouts of all animals can be established at any time.

As well as urging producers to adhere to the identification and movement recording rules for their own and the industry’s good, EBLEX points out that separate flock registers are now required for each calendar year.

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