2014-12-22   facebooktwitterrss

New Sheep Tagging Rules Mean Care Must be Taken

The National Sheep Association urges sheep keepers in all parts of the UK to be aware that new rules for sheep identification come in on Thursday 1st January 2015.

The derogation from Europe protecting ewes and rams tagged before 2010 (‘the historic flock’) from EID rules is coming to an end and so, from 1st January, these animals must be individually identified on movement records unless they going directly to an abattoir or via a red market.

Farm Images

photo: Farm Images

NSA stresses that the end of the derogation does not mean animals from the historic flock have to be retagged with full EID, but many producers may choose to take that step if it makes it easier for them to move older ewes and rams from the historic flock between farms or via markets.

Phil Stocker, NSA Chief Executive, says: “It is not a legal requirement to retag ewes and rams from the historic flock with electronic identifiers, and we are not for a minute suggesting a gold plating of the rules. What we are saying is to carefully consider what moves you are likely to make with older animals in the future and, if these will not be direct to slaughter, double-tagging is likely to be the sensible option. It makes sense to do this when you are handling sheep in the coming months – and don’t forget to make a note in your flock register.”

Also from 1st January 2015, sheep keepers in England are no longer permitted to use non-EID tags for lambs and must use a single EID slaughter tag in lambs not being retained for breeding. Lambs born before 1st January are still permitted to carry a non-EID tag and there is no requirement to retag these animals. Use of the non-EID slaughter tag is still permitted in Wales until January 1st 2016, but NSA urges sheep keepers in Wales to be very careful about the tagging decisions they make in 2015.

Mr Stocker says: “It is has always been important to use the non-EID slaughter tag in prime lambs only and not in store lambs, but this will be even more important for Welsh farmers in 2015, as they will be the only nation still using the non-EID slaughter tag and will reduce their selling options if they use plastic tags in lambs that may be bought for further finishing.”

One final reminder for all sheep keepers is to keep an eye out for their Sheep and Goat Annual Inventory and return it before the deadline. Businesses in England will be the first to receive their paperwork, which needs to be returned by Wednesday 31st December. For farmers in Wales, Scotland and NI the deadlines are not until 2015.


Related Links
link NSA Welcomes Welsh Government’s Decision on Land Classification
link Red Tractor Assurance Must Remain Practical, Logical and Justifiable
link Reduce Waste and Increase Taste in UK Lamb
link NSA to Give Away 12 Stick Reader Kits in 2015

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