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From: TSS (
Subject: Sheep sector prepares for audit while Scots farmers also seek to resist electronic id system for sheep
Date: December 23, 2004 at 2:28 pm PST

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Sheep sector prepares for audit while Scots farmers also seek to resist electronic id system for sheep
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 16:17:39 -0600
From: "Terry S. Singeltary Sr."
To: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Sheep sector prepares for audit

Wed 22 Dec 2004


NEXT month will be crunch time for Scotlands sheep industry, when
European Union auditors arrive to check sheep ID recording.

Failure to satisfy the auditors that the Scottish system of recording
only batch numbers when sheep are moved might mean pen-and-paper
recording of millions of individual sheep IDs at an estimated cost of
£20 million. "We have to be at the top of our game when the auditors
arrive on 24 January," said Bob Howat, the NFU Scotland vice-president,

"We have to show that the Scottish sheep identification system works and
that we can deliver. Double-tagging and individual recording would be a
massive downturn for the industry."

Although a list of suggested farms, slaughterhouses and marts will be
given to the auditors, they can go anywhere - and might - said Howat at
an end-of-year briefing for journalists at union HQ.

The union insists that Scotlands present system of sheep recording -
"cost-effective, workable and delivering traceability" said Howat -
meets all requirements.

Electronic identification is on the way throughout Europe, he added, and
NFU Scotland is co-operating to develop it. But there is no point at
present in replacing the existing Scottish system, he went on: "Lobbying
to convince EU farm ministers that the Scottish system of recording
batches of sheep works, rather than recording up to eight million
individual sheep, has avoided the £20m bill that EU rules would bring.

"But the threat remains and our ability to maintain the present system
and avoid a nightmare is in our hands. Any lapse in January could
undermine all the work undertaken so far to avoid a crippling cost for
the Scottish sheep industry."

The auditors inspection is due to start on 24 January and will probably
last a week. By the then the Scottish Executive should have at least an
indication of what the auditors think. An interim report will be made by
late February with a final report by June.

Although the union is confident that, given a fair chance, Scotlands
sheep identification system at farm, mart and slaughterhouse works, the
EU auditors will almost certainly be visiting all parts of Britain.

John Kinnaird, NFUS president, admitted: "Our job is to encourage all
farmers to identify and record sheep correctly.

"Were confident that were well ahead. But what happens in the rest of
Britain could affect us."

Fresh concern about the UK system was triggered recently when of more
than 80 cases of a new strain of the disease scrapie in older sheep only
one could be traced back to farm of origin.

Scots farmers also seek to resist electronic id system for sheep

24 December 2004

Scottish sheep farmers facing similar issues to their New Zealand
counterparts over individual identification of livestock say they hope
European Union regulators will accept their manual recording system.

The EU - New Zealand's most important market for lamb - wants to be able
to trace meat back to specific farms in the event of human health or
animal disease problems.

Fresh concerns about individual identification of sheep in Europe were
roused recently during an outbreak of a new strain of the disease
scrapie in the UK. Only one of the 80 sheep in which the strain was
found could be traced back to its farm of origin, the Scotsman newspaper

The Scottish farmers are trying to avoid a Stg 20 million pounds
($NZ54.5 million) cost they fear would be incurred by having to
individually record eight million sheep by pen-and-paper systems, the
newspaper reports.

Electronic identification of individual sheep is set to be introduced in
other parts of Europe, but the Scots hoped to convince EU farm ministers
that their system of recording batches of sheep works just as well.

European Union auditors will check the Scottish system on January 24,
said National Farmers' Union Scotland vice president Bob Howat.

In New Zealand, Meat and Wool New Zealand chairman Jeff Grant recently
said the livestock industry needs to reassess its animal identification
regime to safeguard its future.

He is chairing a working group of representatives from various
agricultural organisations formed recently to review New Zealand's
national animal identification and tracking systems.

It is evaluating international developments in animal identification and
traceability, including the potential for increased use of electronic
identification (EID) systems. New Zealand has 40 million sheep and many
farmers have opposed using electronic identification because of the cost.

New Zealand's biggest farmer, Landcorp, is already using electronic tags
to identify livestock on some of its properties.

Mr Grant has said animal identification and traceback would also help
New Zealand resist costly overseas requirements and maintain market access.

"Overseas markets are continually raising the bar on animal ID and
traceability and we don't want to be in the position of having to adopt
someone else's system," Mr Grant said.,2106,3138091a3600,00.html


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