Electronic sheep tagging to become mandatory - with one-off €50 support to help farmers
The mandatory extension of electronic identification to all sheep has been announced by the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
Under the new rules will require all sheep sold from October 1, 2018 onwards will have to be identified electronically.
The Minister added that he intends to introduce a one off support measure up to a maximum of €50 per keeper for the first purchase of EID tags.
Lambs under 12 months of age moving directly to slaughter from the holding of birth will be required to be identified with a single electronic tag.
All other sheep will require an EID tag set comprised of two tags – one conventional tag and a corresponding electronic tag. However a conventional tag and an EID bolus will be permitted also.
The Minister stated that “the simplified rules will provide a more robust sheep traceability system and will further support the development and sustainability of the sheep industry.
"The improved traceability system will assist in maintaining existing markets and in securing new international outlets for Irish sheep meat, in line with the development goals for the sheep industry, as detailed in the Food Wise 2025 strategy."
He added that “this measure will simplify the sheep tagging system and will significantly reduce the record keeping requirements for sheep farmers moving sheep to livestock marts, slaughter plants and export assembly centres”.
The Minister further announced that electronic tag readers and associated software are included as eligible investments in the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) scheme to assist sheep farmers in flock management.
He also stressed however, that tag readers are not a requirement for the new sheep identification system.
Up to now, all sheep are required to be identified electronically with a full EID tag set. However, an exception is made for lambs slaughtered before reaching the age of 12 months (regardless of the number of movements or interim destinations within the 12 months period), where such lambs may be identified with a single conventional tag. All animals have to be identified by 9 months of age.
Under the new arrangements all animals are still required to be identified at 9 months of age. Animals consigned directly from farm of origin to a slaughter plant before 12 months of age can be identified with one electronic tag in the animal’s right ear whilst all other animals must comply with the full EID requirements – (1 conventional tag in the left ear and 1 electronic tag in the right ear).
A bolus set comprising an electronic bolus in the stomach of the sheep and a corresponding conventional tag bearing the same number as the bolus may be used as an alternative to an EID tag set.
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