Views sought on rolling out EID cattle ear tags in Scotland

The consultation is seeking views from farmers on updating the current non-computerised system with EID
The consultation is seeking views from farmers on updating the current non-computerised system with EID

Proposals to modernise how Scotland’s cattle are tagged, identified and traced is the focus of a new consultation launched today.

Cattle farmers and businesses are being encouraged to give their views on plans to fit all new-born cattle with electronic ear-tags.

If implemented, bovine electronic identification (EID) can provide farmers with an easier way to collect and store cattle information, leading to improvements in efficiency and safety.

All cattle born in the UK, EU and many other countries, are currently required to be uniquely identified with ear tags and their movements recorded.

This traceability helps to prevent disease spread and protects both animal and public health.

The consultation will seek views on updating the current non-computerised system with EID, the use of an online register for cattle, and the removal of paper cattle passports for EID identified animals.

Scotland's Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie said: “Farmers and crofters in Scotland have always embraced new and innovative technologies to help improve food production and protect our environment.

“Since 2017 we have worked closely with the cattle industry to identify new methods of cattle identification that will help reduce costs and improve efficiency for cattle farmers.

"The new system is the latest example of the world-leading innovation on show within Scottish agriculture.

“I would encourage those involved in the cattle industry to make their views known on this important issue.”

NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said the union welcomed the Scottish government’s consultation.

“Scottish farmers and crofters have been supportive of the introduction of electronic identification for decades, as noted in the recent report compiled by ScotEID," he said.

"In the future, the industry will rely heavily on data to manage our herds’ efficiency and productivity, and to deliver against ambitious environmental goals making Bovine EID crucial.

“We hope that this consultation will finally progress the introduction of Bovine EID, and, ultimately, will negate the need for paper passports, offering both industry and government a significant saving.”

The consultation closes for responses on 27 June.