NSA calls for urgent EID review
11th June 2012
The National Sheep Association is calling for an urgent review of the regulations on sheep EID following an in depth exploration of the possibilities of a legal challenge. Phil Stocker CEO of the NSA said “As far back as 2003 the NSA was clear that it supported EID in sheep, as long as the application was both workable and affordable, on the basis that electronic identification supported movements recording that would ultimately lead to reduced risk of disease spread and give confidence to sheep markets. Unfortunately the decision on zero tolerance ignores the difficult relationship between IT technology and living creatures, and is not considered affordable by a farmer who receives an automatic financial penalty for inaccuracy. Sheep farmers feel completely betrayed in having a system imposed on them where they are penalised for the technology not being 100% reliable.”
The NSA has explored the possibility of a formal intervention of the German case at the European Court of Justice and also the possibility of a judicial review here in the UK. Neither of these routes proved possible and so now the Association is trying to galvanise support for a review of the regulation at EU level. John Geldard, NSA Chairman challenged the Scottish MEP Alyn Smith at the NSA’s Scotsheep event on the 6th June when the MEP suggested that there was no clarity coming from the industry in terms of how to move forward. John Geldard commented “ The only way forward now is to get this regulation reviewed because it is clear that it is not working. We cannot have a situation where large mixed farms are turned away from sheep because they put their entire CAP payments at risk – that is not helping farming to develop to address the needs of food security and sustainability. NSA is now aware that there are a growing number of EU member states that are realising that EID with zero tolerance is not working. The more member states and organisations that speak up and join forces the less the regulators can ignore our views”.