January 10, 2008: The National Sheep Association is concerned that many sheep farmers who have endured a horrible autumn and winter dealing with the disease and cost issues facing them, will not have fully grasped the fact that they must apply for a certificate of competence for transporting animals over 65 kilometres to comply with the new statutory requirements which came into effect last Saturday, January 5.
Hamish Waugh, NSA’s spokesman on transport issues said, “So far about 8,000 people have applied to take the relatively simple test that will legally permit them to transport animals over 65 km. This is probably only around 10 percent of the predicted numbers of producers who transport animals over these sorts of distances.NSA believes that Trading Standards personnel should take a light touch on enforcing these regulations for the first few months in order to give farmers time to make the necessary arrangements to get their certificates. NSA trusts that this will happen but also accepts that at some point any light touch approach that is adopted will change and active enforcement will take its place.DEFRA are funding a series of talks organised by ADAS throughout the second half of January, from Carlisle and Hexham in the North to Truro and Ashford in the South, anyone who transports animals over 65 km and hasn’t yet obtained a certificate of competence is urged to find out more about the test they will need to undertake. Full details of the meetings – their dates and venues – are on the NSA website.