Animals born or identified after 31 December 2009 which are intended to be kept beyond 12 months of age will need to be electronically identified. Around 20 per cent. of lambs born each year are kept beyond this age as breeding replacements and will need to be electronically identified.
Independent epidemiological modelling has identified that the introduction of electronic identification (EID) and individual recording could reduce costs of managing an outbreak of exotic disease over the current UK system by up to 13 per cent. as a result of fewer infected premises and less animals being culled. It will also improve our ability to track individual animal movements.
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of compulsory electronic tagging of sheep on the (a) domestic and (b) international competitiveness of the livestock industry.
Compulsory EU labelling rules on origin of beef and veal already apply throughout the supply chain with full traceability being a key requirement. There are no current plans to introduce compulsory farm of origin labelling for lamb, or for other meats. Government do however support current EU proposals for a Regulation on the Provision of Food Information which would tighten up country or origin labelling, particularly for meat and meat products, requiring specified information to be given where claims of origin are made. These EU proposals do not relate to electronic sheep tagging or European directives on livestock traceability but are intended to ensure consumers have clear information about the origin of meat products.