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Sheep

Volume 403: debated on Tuesday 8 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the present system of sheep identification. [107719]

The present system of sheep identification was enhanced on 1 February 2003 in England and Wales. From that date, all sheep born after 1 February or still on the holding on which they were born and not yet marked, need to be individually identified with a tag or tattoo before they move or within one year of birth.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what representations she has received concerning sheep identification; [107720](2) what plans she has to implement in full the tagging system required by the EU for sheep identification. [107718]

We have received a number of representations expressing concern over the European Commission proposals on sheep and goat identification. We have raised these concerns with the Commission and said that any proposal to enhance the current EU rules should be workable, enforceable and proportionate to the disease risk. We shall continue to negotiate on that basis.