Farmers’ show of solidarity with German shepherds

FARMERS have been at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg supporting German shepherds in their landmark case challenging the unworkable rules that require the electronic tagging of sheep.

NFU Scotland vice-president Rob Livesey accompanied the German Federation of Sheep Farmers to their hearing. A ruling is expected on May 29.

The German sheep farmers were granted the opportunity to mount a legal challenge at a European level after a court in Germany decided in 2012 that they had a strong enough case to take their fight to the EC.

Scottish and German sheep farmers are united in their opposition to impractical European sheep identification rules which require electronic tagging of individual animals and over-bureaucratic recording and reporting of tagging and stock movements.

Mr Livesey said: “NFU Scotland continues to stand together with sheep farmers across Europe against the unworkable sheep EID legislation and we must take every opportunity to try and make sheep farmers’ lives easier.

“The Stuttgart court in 2012 considered that the German shepherds’ case regarding requirements for individual and electronic identification of sheep and flock record-keeping was difficult for the EU to justify. That case has now reached its next stage at the European Court of Justice.

“Scotland continues to work with allies in other member states to drive for a fundamental review of the sheep tagging regulation EC 21/2004. We hope that this action undertaken by the German shepherds is successful and forces the EC to recognise and react to the difficulties that many farmers across Europe are having in complying with the sheep EID legislation. We are also keeping up pressure on the EC to ensure that we make progress with sheep EID during the current CAP Reform process which presents an opportunity to ensure that any cross-compliance rules around electronic ID are significantly tempered to recognise the impractical nature of the legislation.”