The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dara Calleary, has been asked about considerations to introduce mandatory electronic identification tagging (EID) for cattle.
The parliamentary question was raised by Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy, who asked the minister to provide all materials, reports, correspondence and briefings in relation to considerations to introduce mandatory electronic identification for cattle and associated costs for farmers.
He shed light on the matter after the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, confirmed in recent weeks, that it is looking into the possibility of introducing compulsory electronic identification tagging for cattle.
In response, Minister Calleary, said: “The department has engaged in preliminary work on the scope for the possibility of introducing mandatory electronic identification (EID) of bovines against a background of the benefits that could accrue to stakeholders including the Department and introduction of EU Animal Health Regulation which will become operational on April 21st, 2021.”
“This is an ongoing deliberative process. The development of a plan to implement EID will require consultation with all relevant stakeholders including farming organisations.”
'A substantial improvement'
“The use of EID tags has the potential to deliver a substantial improvement in the bovine identification system for farmers, livestock marts, slaughter plants, export assembly centres, veterinarians and the department.”
“The electronic scanning of bovines presented at outlets such as marts and factories will assist a move to a paperless system and enable accurate data capture facilitated by automated reporting of animal movements to the AIM system and thus, improving the speed, reliability and accuracy of the traceability system.” the minister added.
He explained that EID in bovines has the capacity also to provide a safer working environment for all stakeholders.
He said the cost of bovine identification tags is set by approved tag suppliers, adding that the current additional cost to farmers of purchasing an electronic identification tag is between €1.05 - €1.11 per animal.