Monday 20 February 2012

tagging sheep. EID

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Tags. Destined for sheep, their ears no less. A legal necessity and one thought by many to be an unnecessary necessity.

It often seems that since 2001 the world has gone potty, and probably going dafter by the minute. EU regulations came in force post foot and mouth which required all sheep to be tagged, Traceability was the word used. A single tag with the holding number had to be inserted into the sheeps ear. Eventually it became a single tag with holding number and individual number per sheep.

We are moving on in the world and since 2010 it has been necessary for all breeding sheep to have a double tag. TWO tags, both with the holding number and corresponding individual number, to add insult to injury one of these tags must also be fitted with an electronic gadget.

EID. Electronic identification. Which by law must be done to sheep which are to remain in the flock within 9 months of birth. So it was, Shep found herself tagging sheep and not for the first or last time this year either.
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Sheep weren't meant to have tags stuck in their lugs, they don't like having tags stuck in their lugs either.
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Sheep don't have a say in the matter and neither do the farmers seemingly, 'tis the EU who think 'tis good for the sheep industry to spend about 80p on each sheep to ensure it can be traced.
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There are choices in colours, however the electronic tag is always yellow.
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As said each pair of tags has an individual number, god help you if you don't concentrate and manage to muddle up the numbers, they must be the same on each pair fitted into each sheep.
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Should anything go wrong one tag will have to be cut out of the ear and the pair discarded. In the above photo the tag was misfired, finding it clipped together without the ear in the middle, the yellow tag had already been successfully inserted into the ear which meant it had to be cut out. 80p wasted, a cost of £1.60 to tag one sheep.
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Then there are the tags which fail to work properly, it is sometimes possible to straighten these out again and manage to reuse them, however on this particular day Shep had two which refused to co operate. Another £1.60 down the drain.

All tags used have to be recorded, any found missing are meant to be replaced, more paperwork for the farmers, more expense for them too. Being electronic means they can be electronically read, which is indeed the whole intention, it won't be long before we're not just handling sheep in the sheep pens but we'll all have to have a computer on hand as well.

Sheep destined for slaughter just require one tag. The first thing a sheep loses at the slaughter house is it's head, which includes its ears - how does that then help the traceability of the meat when the tag has been chucked in the bin full of heads?


Dafad said...

You'd think they'd do matching "earings" for sheeps wouldn't you? Or maybe (especially on the pink ones, it adds to the punk look!Te-hee!
Cattle get even bigger brighter tags which just spoils the photographs.
But then I'm a fussy bugger.

Tarset Shepherd said...

Tags spoil photos full stop but you're quite right the cattle ones are far bigger. 'Tis a bone of contention to many - punk look or not!!