Welsh farmers' strong objections to EU plans to introduce electronic identification (EID) of sheep next year were hammered home in Brussels today by FUW deputy president Emyr Jones.Mr Jones and other representatives of Fairness for Farmers in Europe (FFE) outlined their strong objections to EID to the EU’s Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs (DG SANCO) which is responsible for introducing it on December 31 this year.

"We made it clear to Alberto Laddomada, DG SANCO’s Head of Unit for Animal Health, that there is now an almost unanimous acceptance across Europe that EID technology has serious problems associated with it in terms of implementing it on farms and in markets and slaughterhouses.

"I believe it is like forcing people to drive cars that have failed their MoTs. That is completely unacceptable when we are talking about animal health and welfare and disease control, not to mention the financial consequences of forcing people to use a costly technology that is not fit for purpose."

Mr Jones said recent statistics show sheep numbers in Wales fell by around 10 per cent between 2007 and 2008, while total EU sheep production fell by around 2.5 per cent during the same period.

"For many producers this regulation is likely to be the final straw, resulting in further reductions in flock sizes which in turn threatens the viability of the entire supply chain, especially in Wales," Mr Jones added.