Developments in cattle identification, registration and movement
The Sinn Féin Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has met with representatives of the major farming, livestock auctioneers and red meat processing organisations to discuss new developments in the identification, registration and movement of cattle.
Issues discussed included options for different tagging arrangements including electronic identification and movement notification, and new arrangements for recording movements to markets and meat plants following the removal of DARD staff from those activities.
Speaking after the meeting, the Minister said:
"I welcomed the opportunity to meet with the various stakeholders to inform them of impending changes to our electronic APHIS system to help the Industry to get full advantage from the system. APHIS is an advanced system which if fully utilised offers all parties in the meat supply chain, including the consumer and farmer, better traceability of food from farm to fork.
"The meeting also focused on new developments in areas such as electronic identification and even biomarkers like retinal imaging.
"My officials are willing and keen to work with the Industry to improve our current system for our mutual benefit."
The Minister also took the opportunity to discuss with the Livestock Auctioneers Association (NILAA) and the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) a number of trade issues which were particularly with regard to the export of cattle. During the fairly positive meeting the Minister agreed that her officials would meet the NILAA shortly in an attempt to overcome a number of difficulties.
She also underlined her commitment to ensure that DARD continues to work with the industry to seek ways to reduce bureaucracy in the animal traceability system while at the same time protecting public health and promoting animal health and welfare.