Sheep farmers will be fleeced by EU tagging plans
|Published: 2nd September 2008 09:48|
Conservative MEP Neil Parish
Conservative MEPs have gone on the ram-page today after launching a campaign for the EU to reconsider a tagging system that will decimate Britain's 90,000 sheep producers.
Neil Parish and Jim Nicholson (Ulster Unionist) have co-sponsored a Written Declaration in the parliament, calling on the EU to reconsider plans to introduce a compulsory electronic identification (EID) that in certain cases will cost almost as much as the sheep itself.
Last December, ministers agreed to introduce the tags from 2010, despite Conservative attempts to delay it further and to make it voluntary, rather than compulsory. The tags cost around £1.50, which in some cases is more than the value of sheep themselves. As the UK has a third of the entire sheep population of Europe, we will be most severely affected by the proposals.
Mr Parish, who chairs the European Parliament's agriculture committee, said: "These tags are far too expensive and offer no clear additional benefits to animal health. Whilst this technology may be suitable for sheep on dry plains in the middle of Spain it is virtually impossible to use half way up a mountain in the middle of a storm."
"Britain's 33 million sheep help shape our countryside, and their loss would result in a significant deterioration in the landscape.
"Once again, the European Union is making it more difficult for farmers to produce food, at a time when it should be supporting them. The EU must recognise the damage these plans will cause, and withdraw them immediately."