The EU Commission has this week agreed to extend the deadline for the compulsory electronic tagging of sheep which is expected to save the UK sheep industry up to £11.5 million.
The decision by Europe’s Standing Committee for Food Chain and Animal Health will extend the deadline for the compulsory electronic tagging of sheep born before 1 January, 2010, to the end of 2014.
The requirement to electronically tag the so-called Historic Flock had been scheduled to come into force at the end of this month but sustained lobbying resulted in the extension.
UK farm minister Jim Paice said he was pleased that Brussels had listened to the concerns he and others had been raising. “In this economic climate, it is neither economical nor practical to electronically tag the millions of sheep born before electronic identification was introduced.”
The three-year derogation cannot be extended, but with the natural aging of the national flock by the end of 2014 there will be a significant reduction in the number of older animals likely to be affected.