Mandatory Electronic Identification (EID) for Cattle to be Introduced

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, has announced that, following extensive consultation with cross sectoral stakeholders, the decision has been taken to move forward with the introduction of mandatory electronic identification in the cattle herd.

Minister McConalogue said, “Ireland is recognised as having one of the best bovine traceability systems in the world and has consistently innovated in this area, which has enabled Ireland access valuable markets abroad for their animals and products.”

The information collated on the Animal Identification and Movement System (AIMS) provides a high degree of assurance to consumers in these markets on the traceability and food safety of bovine animals including beef and dairy products.

The Minister added, “notwithstanding the success so far, the time is now opportune to introduce mandatory bovine EID. This decision recognises advancements in the international marketplace and seeks to take advantage of newer technologies to enhance and future proof the Irish bovine traceability system.”

“Such a system can eliminate tag reading errors and bring greater efficiency to animal handling on farms and at other handling points. Bovine EID will strengthen Ireland’s traceability credentials in the marketplace, for both animals and products of animal origin.”

Mandatory bovine EID will deliver substantial improvements in the bovine identification system for farmers, livestock marts, slaughter plants, export assembly centres and veterinarians. It will lead to a safer working environment for all stakeholders with less reliance on manual checking of bovine tag numbers.

Herd keepers and livestock marts will save time that is currently involved in making amendment applications associated with misreading of animals and mismatched passports when cattle are moving off the holding.

Bovine EID will be implemented in two stages as outlines below:

• From 1st January 2022 all approved bovine tag suppliers will be required to supply an EID tag with all new tag orders. Each new tag set will include one EID tag and one tissue tag. EID tags will be white in colour. The colour of conventional and tissue tags will remain yellow.

• From 1st July 2022 it shall be a legal requirement on herd keepers to officially identify all new-born calves with a tag set containing an EID tag.

Minster McConalogue went on to indicate that the Department “is currently working on a tag subvention scheme to assist herd keepers in offsetting the additional cost of the EID tag, the details of which will be announced as soon as it is finalised”.

The Minister concluded by thanking the stakeholders for their valuable input into the decision to now move forward with this ambitious, forward looking plan and urged cattle herd keepers, in the context of the new regime, to use up all existing stocks of non-EID tags prior to 1st July 2022.

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