European Commission proposals to ease the administrative burden on farmers after electronic identification (EID) of sheep and goats is introduced next year were described by the Farmers’ Union of Wales today as small concessions.

Welcoming the proposals, the chairman of the union’s hill farming committee Derek Morgan said: "This is one of the concessions we lobbied the Commission and its Joint Research Centre for during their visit to Wales in February, and I am glad an element of commonsense has been allowed to prevail.

"The provision will be a significant help for those sending sheep to market, as it will allow market operators to do the electronic reading and reporting for them.

"However, it is a small concession in the grander scheme of things, particularly as farmers sending sheep out on tack or between holdings will still have to individually record and report movements themselves."

The EC proposals include: electronic reading of animals at critical control points (eg markets, slaughter houses) instead of at each single farm; a simplified procedure for retagging of animals; and reducing information obligations for the annual inventory.

EID will become obligatory for most lambs born after December 31, 2009 and from 2011 the individual identity of each sheep or goat will be recorded whenever they move.