2014-09-08   facebooktwitterrss

Call for Scottish Sheepkeepers to Double Tag Older Ewes

The derogation that allows older sheep tagged before 2010 to be moved in batches between businesses will end in January 2015.

Given the sizeable proportion of the Scottish flock that will be aged five years or older by this date, the National Sheep Association (Scotland), the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers Scotland (IAAS) and NFU Scotland are urging flock keepers to update their ID to current standards and double tag these animals before trading them off the farm.

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The stakeholders jointly recommend that that to optimise market opportunities and avoid manual recording of individual ear tag numbers in the future, animals from the historic flock should be retagged.

These older animals will have previously received non-electronic tags if born prior to 2010. To meet the current requirements, prior to changing ownership, they should be double tagged, one of which must be an electronic (EID) tag.

Stakeholders remind producers that if they are re-tagging these older animals then the process must be recorded in the flock register, similar to any other retagging operations.


  • From 1 January 2015, any movement of the ‘historic flock’ from a sheep keepers’ holding - with the exception of sheep going direct to slaughter or movement within a business where there is no change of ownership - must be recorded in line with EU requirements. Farmers have a choice of whether to tag their sheep with a new set of double EID tags or by manually recording the existing tag number in the movement document. There is no obligation to double tag, and farmers can choose whichever method suits their individual circumstances although industry organisations may offer advice and guidance to their members.

  • The new requirements regarding the historic flock have been anticipated for a number of years, and the Scottish Government is continuing to work with industry to ensure keepers in Scotland understand their obligations under these rules. We are also continuing to urge the EU to revise aspects of the regulation that require amendment.

  • The derogation (EU Reg 21/20004) allows sheep from the historic flock to move on a batch or batch within a batch basis rather than recording the individual identity of these animals on the movement document (MD). Originally the derogation was due to end on the 31 December 2011 but was extended until the end of December 2014 after the UK, as Member State, requested unsuccessfully for an extension until 2016.


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