Tags out for tender as Dept drive EID
Tag companies have been asked to tender for the contract to provide electronic tagging services to the Department of Agriculture.
Despite widespread farmer opposition to the implementation of electronic identification (EID) in Ireland, Department officials are pushing ahead with plans for the new tagging system.
The Department has confirmed that all sheep and goats born this year must be tagged with new 12-digit tags.
The tags are part of a phased transition to the controversial EID system.
Department officials have stated that new 12-digit tags will be available to sheep and goat flock owners during the first half of this year. New flock designators will be issued to sheep and goat keepers prior to the introduction of the new tag numbers.
Farmers who have remaining stocks of 13-digit tags can continue to use them for animals born before January 1. However, the new tags/numbers apply to animals born this year.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Minister Brendan Smith intends to minimise costs for producers by availing of a slaughter derogation that allows for the vast majority of Irish sheep to be excluded from the EID requirement.
It is expected that mandatory EID will apply to no more than 18pc of the national flock. Some 70pc of Irish flocks are of 100 sheep or less and in these cases no more than 20 animals will be affected.