JANUARY 10,  2008: An expert from tag specialists, Ritchey has announced that Defra  has issued further clarification relating to the new rules on sheep double-tagging, due to come into force on January 11.

Linda Simms, tag registration supervisor at the Masham, North Yorkshire-based firm, says the Defra announcement (on Monday, January 7), relates to the identification of slaughter animals over 12 months old.           

“Sheep will need to be double-tagged once they reach 12 months. Where an animal is being double tagged for the first time, the  numbers on the two tags must be identical,” says Mrs Simms. “Producers have two options. They can either insert an identical match-up tag, or use two new tags. If two new tags are used, the  new numbers must be cross-referenced against the existing single tag in the flock register.”The proposals on double tagging follow failed efforts by UK representatives  to extend a European Union derogation. EU officials carried out  three separate inspections to look at the current traceability of sheep in the UK, and reported serious faults within the system. Their findings have fuelled the latest proposals for the introduction of double tagging.

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