Bovine electronic tagging could remove cattle passports

System could further enhance Ireland’s reputation for traceability, Oireachtas is told

A new bovine tracking tag system could eliminate cattle passports with resultant savings in millions of euros every year, TDs and Senators have been told. The Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine was told Ireland had one of the world’s finest systems of meat traceability, but the State was almost unique in its number of cattle movements. Cattle were frequently bought in parts of the west, reared in the east and fattened in the midlands, resulting in about four million individual cattle movements per year.

Michael Spellman of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society said bovine EID – as bovine electronic identification is known – provided an opportunity for the beef sector to further differentiate its high-quality produce in markets around the world.

He told the committee the current tagging system which had to be physically read could involve considerable health and safety risks for farmers and cattle mart operators. The EID system would remove that, he said.

Mr Spellman also said there were considerable benefits in electronic tagging in terms of monitoring feeding systems, animal welfare and drug use and fertility. “It is a no-brainer,” he said. “ This will boost the competitiveness and appeal of Irish exports and enhance the prospects of better prices from the market” he said.