Consultation on cattle identification

Views sought on electronic ID technology.

Proposals to modernise how Scotland’s cattle are tagged, identified and traced is the focus of a new consultation launched today.

Cattle farmers and businesses are encouraged to give their views on plans to fit all new-born cattle with electronic ear-tags. If implemented, Bovine electronic identification (EID) can provide cattle keepers with an easier way to collect and store cattle information, leading to improvements in efficiency and safety.

All cattle born in the UK, European Union and many other countries, are currently required to be uniquely identified with ear tags and their movements recorded. This traceability helps to prevent disease spread and protects both animal and public health.

The consultation will seek views on updating the current non-computerised system with EID, the use of an online register for cattle, and the removal of paper cattle passports for EID identified animals.

Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie visited a farm in Jedburgh where he was shown a demonstration of the new technology in action.

He said:

“Farmers and crofters in Scotland have always embraced new and innovative technologies to help improve food production and protect our environment.

“Since 2017 we have worked closely with the cattle industry to identify new methods of cattle identification that will help reduce costs and improve efficiency for cattle farmers. The new system is the latest example of the world-leading innovation on show within Scottish agriculture.

“I would encourage those involved in the cattle industry to make their views known on this important issue.”

NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said:

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s consultation on Cattle Identification and Traceability in Scotland, particularly the long-awaited sections related to the use of Bovine electronic identification (EID).

“Scottish farmers and crofters have been supportive of the introduction of electronic identification for decades, as noted in the recent report compiled by ScotEID. In the future, the industry will rely heavily on data to manage our herds’ efficiency and productivity, and to deliver against ambitious environmental goals making Bovine EID crucial.

“We hope that this consultation will finally progress the introduction of Bovine EID, and, ultimately, will negate the need for paper passports, offering both industry and government a significant saving.” 


The consultation on cattle identification and traceability in Scotland closes on 27 June 2024:

Consultation on cattle identification and traceability in Scotland - Scottish Government consultations - Citizen Space


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