SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has demanded the Scottish government back calls for island crofters and farmers to be exempted from “mad” European animal health rules to electronically tag sheep.
Mr Scott said Shetland’s sheep were the “healthiest in Scotland” after the local council invested heavily in the eradication and prevention of animal diseases over the past 20 years.
“Controlling and preventing disease in Shetland is straightforward because of the 180 miles of sea between Lerwick and Aberdeen,” Mr Scott said.
“Scotland’s agricultural minister should back the local industry and give Shetland an exemption from these utterly mad, costly and pointless European rules.”
He pointed out that the government had not guaranteed that farmers would avoid being penalised for any failure in their EID data, even though the system was not 100 per cent accurate.
“Nor has our government said they will pay for EID’s implementation. So Richard Lochhead must get to Brussels and make the case for the maximum of flexibility in EID implementation.”
He called on the government to refrain from the approach taken in England and Wales where farmers have been told that criminal penalties will apply for people who do not conform to the rules.
“The Scottish government must take a better approach and must not use the same threats against Scottish producers. Crofters and farmers need to know the government’s position now.”