The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed the introduction of mandatory electronic identification in cattle herds.
The announcement from Minister McConalogue TD comes following “extensive” consultation with cross-sectoral stakeholders.
Mandatory bovine EID
The DAFM will implement Bovine EID in two stages:
- From January 1st, 2022: All approved bovine tag suppliers will be required to supply an EID tag with all new tag orders. Each new tag set will include one EID tag and one tissue tag. EID tags will be white in colour. The colour of conventional and tissue tags will remain yellow.
- Also, from July 1st, 2022, it shall be a legal requirement for herd keepers to officially identify all newborn calves with a tag set containing an EID tag.
Eliminate tag reading errors
The minister believes mandatory bovine EID will deliver “substantial” improvements in the bovine identification system for farmers, livestock marts, slaughter plants, export assembly centres and veterinarians.
He is of the view it will lead to a safer working environment for all stakeholders with less reliance on manual checking of bovine tag numbers.
“Ireland is recognised as having one of the best bovine traceability systems in the world and has consistently innovated in this area, which has enabled Ireland access valuable markets abroad for their animals and products.”
The information collated on the Animal Identification and Movement System (AIMS) provides a “high degree of assurance” to consumers in these markets on the traceability and food safety of bovine animals, including beef and dairy products.
“Notwithstanding the success so far; the time is now opportune to introduce mandatory bovine EID.”
“This decision recognises advancements in the international marketplace and seeks to take advantage of newer technologies to enhance and future proof the Irish bovine traceability system.”
“Such a system can eliminate tag reading errors and bring greater efficiency to animal handling on farms and at other handling points.”
Safe time and strengthen traceability credentials
He said bovine EID would strengthen Ireland’s traceability credentials in the marketplace, for both animals and products of animal origin.
He added that herd keepers and livestock marts would save time that is currently involved in making amendment applications associated with the misreading of animals and mismatched passports when cattle are moving off the holding.
McConalogue indicated that the department “is currently working on a tag subvention scheme to assist herd keepers in offsetting the additional cost of the EID tag”.
He said he will announce details as soon as it is finalised.
In the context of the new regime, the minister has urged cattle herd keepers to use up all existing stocks of non-EID tags before July 1st, 2022.