The DNA testing route for English producers to appeal against the
refusal of late cattle passport applications introduced in this month’s
new Cattle Identification Regulations could make major inroads into
the unnecessary wastage of valuable beef resources, believes the
English Beef and Lamb Executive (EBLEX).
Indeed, with BCMS estimating around 24,000 animals could currently
take advantage of testing to secure a passport by verifying their
dams, the new appeal option could help save more than £11 million
at present average slaughter weights and market prices.
Although the estimated £60-80/animal cost of DNA testing through
approved laboratories is not cheap and the involvement of a veterinary
surgeon is required, it looks like being a cost effective investment
The new option, which started on 6 April 2007, is being run by BCMS
in tandem with its original appeals system for all animals that have
had passports refused through late application, regardless of how
long ago. The dam of the animal concerned does, however, have to
While the option is not available where passports have been refused
for reasons other than late application, it can be taken up after
an unsuccessful appeal under the original system.
Tests need to be based on hair or blood samples taken from both
the animal and its dam by a licensed veterinary surgeon who must
sign the official DNA test form the confirming details of the animal
They can only be conducted by a laboratory approved by BCMS, with
all test and vet’s costs borne by the producer. The new regulations
specifically rule out refunds, regardless of test result, together
with any case for compensation.
To help producers decide whether to incur the testing expense, all
applications for a DNA-based appeal will be checked by BCMS in advance
to ensure there is a good chance of the passport being issued if
the test positive confirms the parentage.
BCMS expects the new route will increase the volume of appeal cases,
especially in the next year or so given its availability for late
application passport refusals since the 2003 tightening of the registration
By law, cattle producers must apply for a passport for every animal.
To save themselves both the cost of DNA testing and the time and
worry of appeals, EBLEX urges producers to redouble their efforts
to ensure all passport applications are lodged within the legal deadline
of 27 days from birth, submitting them even if some dam details are
not immediately available.
Producers wanting further information should contact the BCMS Appeals
Team via the BCMS Helpline on 0845 050 1234.
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