Feeds

Farmers furious at EU's sheep-chip scheme

Get orf my laaamb

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

British farmers have pledged to fight to the "bitter end" over EU plans for all sheep to be fitted with electronic ID tags as the UK government ruminates on how to implement the scheme.

The EU has long recognised that all sheep tend to look alike to humans, and is looking to RFID technology to ensure animals can be tracked throughout their lives, and beyond [up to a point]. The EU insist that while farmers will have to shell out for the chips not to mention readers - it will bring savings in identification and data handling costs, and will enable better disease tracking.

The EU this month considered a report on a pilot of the scheme in France, which seemed to suggest acceptance of the idea, and envisioned compulsory EIDs next year. The average cost is expected to be around €0.80 per animal.

According to a report in 2007, which the EU also considered this month, the cost of tagging each animal at as low as €0.29 for a "slaughter lamb" with a holding tag, up to €2.25 for an animal tagged with a "standard ruminal bolus and a conventional ear tag".

Farmers will, of course have to shell out for readers, and presumably kit to "administer" the tags, including the frankly rather scary "boluses". The total cost to UK farmers - the biggest bloc of sheep keepers in the Union- is expected to be in the region of £65m.

The UK government has kicked off a "consultation" on the program as it considers how to implement the scheme.

However, it seems clear what farmers think already, with angry ovine rearers rushing to give the farming rags and the Telegraph their unhappy view.

John Mercer, chief livestock adviser to the National Farmers' Union, told the Telegraph: "It's a crazy rule. It's not wanted. It's not needed. And it could, potentially, devastate the sheep industry. We really need political pressure now."

John Hore, a farmer from Pilning, near Bristol, told the Telegraph: "We are prepared to fight this to the bitter end.

Mick Holder, chairman of the Forest of Dean Commoners Association told thisisgloucestershire.co.uk that the scheme had little chance of working.

"I don't think it will solve anything, all it will do is create a mountain of paperwork and be really expensive to implement," he said.

He added, "There are hundreds of sheep out in the Forest and before you can tag them you've got to find them."

Which suggests that the British sheep industry faces some more fundamental problems than we thought. Unfortunately, for the farmers, not to mention the sheep and goats, the bitter end is exactly where things will end up, as they start "applying" the boluses from the end of this year. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.