Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Friday, 1 January 2010

EU lamb tagging rules introduced

A lamb (generic)
It is hoped it will allow animals to be traced more easily

New European Union rules for sheep farmers have come into force meaning all newborn lambs will have to be electronically tagged.

It is hoped the move will allow animals to be traced more easily.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said concessions secured from Europe should make it easier for Welsh farmers to implement the new regulations.

However, NFU Cymru said it will not necessarily mean that all newborn lambs born in 2010 will have to be tagged.

Ms Jones said: "The concessions we have secured from Europe should make it much easier for Welsh farmers to implement the EU regulations around sheep tagging.

"As of today sheep farmers will need to consider which slaughter tags they use to identify their 2010 lambs.

Nine million

"My officials will be issuing guidance and a revised flock record to all registered sheep and goat farmers in early January to help them through the new process.

"I would also urge farmers to seek advice from my officials on this issue as they will be able to provide detailed information on all aspects of the regulation."

Welsh Assembly Government officials will be advising farmers on this issue at a number of road shows across Wales during January.

There are nine million sheep in Wales and nearly half of Welsh farms keep the animals.

An NFU Cymru spokesperson said the EID regulation will not necessarily mean that all newborn lambs born in 2010 will have to be electronically identified.

"Thanks to intensive NFU lobbying a derogation has been secured for lambs under 12 months of age which will be going for slaughter (commonly referred to as the Slaughter Derogation) which will give farmers the option to not have to apply EID tags for lambs moving directly off the holding of birth and going direct to slaughter or going directly onto slaughter via markets.

The spokesperson added: "In reality only lambs which will be kept beyond 12 months of age will have to have full EID and even then they won't have to be fitted with EID tags straight after they're born. "



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