‘New Zealand have no tagging system at all for sheep’ – Farmers hit back as Minister makes EID tagging mandatory for all sheep

Michael Harrrington, Castletownbere, Co Cork, tagging his Scotch sheep at Kenmare Mart. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan
Michael Harrrington, Castletownbere, Co Cork, tagging his Scotch sheep at Kenmare Mart. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

IFA President Joe Healy said the announcement by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed on the imposition of compulsorily electronic sheep tagging on all sheep from October 1 is adding insult to injury after the fodder crisis and the financial challenges sheep farmers have had to endure this winter.

He said it is astonishing that Minister Creed would impose further costs and bureaucracy on farmers on the same day that Brussels has proposed a cut to CAP Direct Payments.

“The Minister is ignoring farmers and appears to be dancing to the tune of the meat factories, which are pushing hardest for EID.

“Sheep farmers will be really angry with this announcement from the Minister as they see everybody benefiting except farmers, who will have to pick up all of the costs. In addition, it comes on top of the Clean Sheep policy which the Minister imposed earlier this year and it has caused immense hardship for the sector.

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IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said it was unacceptable that Minister Creed did not engage in any meaningful consultation with farmers on this move.

He said it appears that a small few people are dictating the pace and 35,000 farmers are being asked to pick up the bill.

“This is unfair and not a good way to do business.

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“Minister Creed has tried to argue EID is necessary to win some additional market access. However, he said the real issue holding up market access to the US, Japan and China on sheep meat is TSE and scrapie and this is not being addressed by the Department of Agriculture.

“Neither the Minister nor the Department of Agriculture can explain how New Zealand enjoys access to all of these markets and they have no tagging or identification system at all for sheep,” he said.

Meanwhile, ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has described the introduction of compulsory EID tagging for all sheep as “completely over the top on the part of the Department of Agriculture.”  

“It would appear the Department have been hoodwinked on this. Up to now even the most ardent supporter of EID tagging consented that it should never be a requirement for lambs moving from farm of origin to the meat plant.”

“In addition, there has been no promise of a reduction paperwork for the farmer. Costs have been mounting up for sheep farmers in recent months. In the middle of a busy spring we had the confused roll out of Clean Livestock Policy (CLP) for sheep and now this. There is no justification for adding this extra cost burden onto sheep farmers at a time when so many are struggling to stay afloat.”

Online Editors

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