26 APRIL 2019

ICSA sheep chairman Sean McNamara has called on the Department of Agriculture to ensure all factories and marts have EID readers in place by the 1 June deadline, at which time all sheep moving off a holding must be identified electronically. “The June deadline is fast approaching. Sheep farmers have had to invest in EID tags since last October, so the least should expect is for factories and marts to be held accountable for reading the tags,” he said.

“In addition, a digital printout must be provided as a matter of course. EID was sold to sheep farmers on the basis that cumbersome paperwork would be eliminated. I see absolutely no urgency of the part of factories to comply with this so far.”

“I have met with Minister Creed on this issue and was assured that 100% of EID tags will be read after the June deadline. However, if it was never compulsory for marts and factories to install EID readers and it’s still not compulsory for them to do so, it remains to be seen if this will happen.”

“Factories have never had to read 100% of lambs presented for slaughter and the appetite is just not there to do it now. It will be up to the Department of Agriculture if there will be any repercussions for those marts and factories who don’t install the necessary readers by June. In the meantime it’s the ones that can least afford it, the sheep farmers, who are bearing all the cost, and for what?”

“Unless it comes to pass that 100% of sheep and lambs passing through marts and factories are read, there can be absolutely no justification for farmers to continue to purchase EID tags and farmers should be reimbursed,” he concluded.