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Written Statement - EIDCymru: The identification of sheep and the slaughter derogation

Rebecca Evans, Deputy Minister for Farming and Food

Today I can confirm my on-going commitment to introduce EIDCymru - an electronic system to record sheep movements in Wales. My decision represents a significant investment by the Welsh Government to ease the task of reporting sheep movements for keepers and to enhance our ability to respond to future animal disease outbreaks. This follows a public consultation which ended on 30 May 2014.

In developing EIDCymru I have asked my officials to pay particular attention to the lessons that can be learned from other parts of the UK and to work with those involved in the movement of sheep to ensure that our Welsh system delivers the best possible outcome for Wales. I have stressed that the system should be easy to use, the associated guidance should be straight forward, and the users of the system must be informed what is required of them well in advance.

In addition to the significant benefits for the industry of having a robust traceability system, EIDCymru will provide the opportunity for farmers and processors to use the increased level of traceability to develop their businesses and potentially their profitability. The free to users web portal, operated by Hybu Cig Cymru, will allow farmers and small businesses to report movements electronically to EIDCymru. Once updated, farm management software packages will be able to transfer data directly into EIDCymru, as will livestock markets and abattoirs.

We will take a strategic and controlled approach to the implementation of EIDCymru,  which will be available from November 2015. The initial focus will be on livestock markets and abattoirs to ensure that the system works effectively at these high volume premises. Full rollout for sheep keepers will be achieved by January 2016, inline with the proposed amendment to the Sheep and Goat (Records, Identification, Movement) (Wales) regulation.

I have taken the decision that only the electronic slaughter tag will be permitted as the single tag option to identify lambs intended for slaughter. This will be introduced from 1 January 2016 allowing farmers time to use any existing stocks they hold of the non-electronic slaughter tag for their 2015 lambs.

This decision underpins e-reporting and, with an eye to Working Smarter, will simplify tagging options and improve compliance with the requirement to record different flock marks in mixed batches. I fully recognise the significance of cross-border movements and trade and this decision aligns the operation of the slaughter lamb derogation with the arrangements in the rest of Great Britain.

Alongside the work on developing EIDCymru, my officials, along with HCC, will continue their engagement with the industry, in particular with stakeholders on the Livestock Identification Advisory Group (LIDAG) and individual farmers, to ensure that the users of the new system are fully consulted with and informed so that we  achieve the maximum benefit from these positive changes