Electronic tagging of cattle is not compulsory within the European Union, nor in this country. This is still a developing technology which is not yet fully standardised. The European Commission is undertaking a field trial of various electronic devices. Their preference is towards devices which can be implanted in the animal or given as a bolus. The Government believes it is sensible to await the outcome of this trial and see what subsequent European rules might be agreed for all Member States before requiring electronic identification. Defra is reviewing (with devolved Agriculture Departments) the interim UK policy on electronic identification for livestock.
There is nothing in the Government’s rules which prevents farmers from using electronic identification if they wish: that is a commercial decision for them to make. And in the longer run, it seems likely that electronic identification of cattle will become widespread, and probably compulsory.
Page published: 15 June 2011