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Farmers will have to tag cattle 03.04.14

DONEGAL beef and dairy farmers will have to electronically tag their cattle's ears after MEPs approved legislation this week.
However, to reduce the cost implications, cattle tagging will be optional for the first five years.
The move follows the introduction of sheep tagging across the EU and is designed to improve food traceability.
Fianna Fáil MEP Liam Aylward said: “Member states including Ireland should take the flexibility offered in the package to effectively utilise the five-year transition period and ensure that farmers and indeed animal welfare are not negatively impacted,” he said.
Mr Aylward also warned of widespread infections caused by electronic identification tags which he said was "contrary to all good farming practice".
Separately, Donegal T.D., Charlie McConalogue called for the appointment of a regulator for the beef sector to "create a more equitable balance of power between the farmer and the processor".
“The beef sector is an integral part of the Irish agri-food industry and is worth €2bn a year to the economy. However, over the past 12 months we have witnessed a collapse in bull beef prices with factories shifting the goal posts on producers.
“Beef producers are being penalised by processors who are changing specifications of age and weight and refusing to slaughter cattle. This has caused prices to plummet.
"If the Government is serious about achieving the Food Harvest 2020 targets for the beef industry and about protecting the national herd, it needs to establish a beef regulator to balance the powers of processors and retailers," he said.
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