Officials have had extensive discussions with the Commission regarding the electronic identification (EID) of sheep. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs also met with Commissioner Vassiliou in September 2008 to discuss our concerns.
At the end of 2007 we secured a two year extension to the implementation date of EID until 31 December 2009. In 2008 we secured important changes to the timetable for the introduction of individual recording on movement documents up until 31 December 2011 and lifetime changes for sheep born before the implementation of EID which are moving direct to slaughter. The phasing in of the individual recording requirements will reduce the recording burden on industry, particularly in relation to older animals.
We also facilitated a Commission Mission of EID technical experts to the UK between 2-6 February to demonstrate the practical problems and challenges our industry face with implementation. We will be working closely with the Commission to see whether there is scope for further flexibility for the way in which we implement the regulation.