2 Jul 2008 01:12 PM
UK secures individual recording concessions for sheep and goat industry

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (207/08) issued by The Government News Network on 2 July 2008

The EU Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health (Scofcah) has voted by qualified majority for changes to the individual recording requirements for sheep and goats.

EC Council Regulation 21/2004 introduces electronic identification (EID) of sheep and individual recording of sheep and goats from 31 December 2009.

However, industry identified the requirement to record individual details of animals that are not electronically identified on movement documents as too burdensome.

Defra has worked closely with the Commission and has secured changes to the annexes of the Regulation that considerably reduce the movement recording burdens. The Regulation now provides for a phased approach to the introduction of individual recording as follows:

* no animals to have to be individually recorded on a movement document until 1 January 2011,

* no animals born before 31 December 2009 have to be individually recorded on a movement document until 31 December 2011; and

* no animal born before 31 December 2009 and moving to slaughter (directly or via a market) have to be recorded on a movement document at all.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn, said,

"These changes, which we have pressed hard for, will help reduce the individual recording burden that industry would have faced in respect of sheep and goat movements once EID is implemented.

I appreciate there are practical issues with implementation and we want to work closely with industry to ensure that we put in place a practical system that they can work with.

Ever since this Regulation was first negotiated the UK pressed the Commission to produce a full and thorough cost/benefit analysis to support its proposal. On agreeing to postpone the EID introduction date to 31 December 2009, I raised similar concerns and will continue to seek assurances from the Commission that the objectives of the
Regulation are being met in the most cost-effective way."

Regulation 21/2004 was adopted in 2003 and provided for EID to be introduced from 1 January 2008. A further two year delay, until 31 December 2009, was secured in December 2007.

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