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IFA insists any electric ID tagging scheme for cattle must remain voluntary

The IFA has insisted that an EU proposal on electronic ID for cattle remains voluntary and optional for farmers.

Last week, the EU Commission announced proposals to provide a legal framework for the introduction of electronic identification of bovine animals on a voluntary basis, claiming that such a move would enhance food safety and better safeguard animal health in the EU.

However, the IFA claims that such a move would be impractical, too costly and unnecessary for the majority of farmers.

Michael Doran, the IFA's livestock chairman, said Ireland already had a secure system of cattle ID that provided full individual traceability with double cattle tagging, registration and notification of all movements to a central database.

Instead, he called on the EU to focus on ensuring that all beef imports into the EU meet the same standards on tagging and traceability as applies to domestic production.

"The EU Commission allows hundreds of thousands of tonnes of beef imports into the EU and on to consumer plates which fail to meet European standards on tagging, traceability, movement, animal health, food safety and environmental controls," he said.

Indo Farming