Labour savings will compensate for EID scheme costs: Creed
The decision to introduce electronic tagging (EID) of sheep has been defended by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.
Speaking at the Joint Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, Minister Creed claimed that the adoption of EID improved animal traceability and offered labour savings for farmers.
The introduction of EID from October this year was strongly criticised by Jackie Cahill of Fianna Fáil, who said that the full cost of the measure would be borne by farmers.
"There is a cost; I have never hidden from the fact that there is a cost. But I don't think that it is weighed in on the other side of the balance sheet that there is also a labour-saving device here," Minister Creed told the committee.
"I mean, transposing 13-digit numbers on to dispatch documents is not conducive to accuracy."
The weaknesses in the current sheep identification and traceability systems were highlighted by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland's (FSAI) recent audit of Department of Agriculture controls.
The audit showed that a significant number of ear tag numbers recorded on dispatch documents which had accompanied sheep for slaughter were found to be invalid when checked against the AIM database.
The deficiencies predominately related to the delivery of consignments by dealers, the audit claimed.