ARCHIVE: What is electronic identification (EID)?
Electronic identification (EID) is a method of identification for livestock and is based on a radio frequency microchip which can be read by handheld or fixed equipment which shows the unique individual animal identification code transmitted by the electronic identifier.
Following the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in 2001 the European Commission made proposals to improve the traceability of sheep and goats. The proposals included individual identification and recording so that individual animal movements could be traced. The proposals also included electronic identification as the European Commission recognised that recording individual numbers particularly in places of high throughput is not practical without electronic means.
EID has replaced the double tagging rules for sheep which came in force on 1 January 2008. EID is not mandatory for goats because the UK goat population falls below the 160,000 threshold. However, goats still need to be individually recorded on a holding register.
- Quick guide: New rules for identifying sheep from 31 December 2009 (50 KB)
- Sheep EID rules: what you need to know (250 KB)
- Guidance for keepers in England: Rules for identifying sheep and goats (1.1MB)
- Electronic identification (EID) in sheep: Your technical guide (550 KB)
- Holding register (750 KB)
- Movement Document under the Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (England) Order 2009 - Keepers can use this movement document from 1 January 2010 for providing Food Chain Information for sheep and goats.
Does the government support the introduction of electronic identification?
EID is a mandatory EU requirement. We did have concerns about the disproportionate costs and benefits of individual recording and EID which is why we proposed to the European Commission that they reviewed the Regulation to check whether its objectives were being met in the most cost effective way. There was however little support for our proposal from other Member States, and there were no realistic chance of negotiating EID away before the implementation date of 31 December 2009.
What benefit is there from having electronic identification?
EID and individual recording will help to improve traceability. Independent analysis indicated that in the event of a disease outbreak an EID system would result in cost savings ie from a reduction in the number of infected holdings and the number of animals culled in the cost of handling an outbreak of between 3 and 13%.
There are some in the industry who actively use EID as a tool to help them improve the quality of their breeding flock. This may, in turn, provide them with a marketing tool to help them get value added from the meat from their sheep.
Page last modified: May 9, 2011