Industry bodies have warned Wales’ new multispecies traceability system must work in harmony with England’s Livestock Information Service if any benefits are to be realised.
Last week, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths announced her decision to create a Wales-specific database which will bring together the separate systems for cattle, sheep and pigs.
The idea is to give farmers and processers accurate, real-time information about animals and their movements and provide better traceability in the event of a disease outbreak.
This new system will be based upon EIDCymru, with the cattle system transferred from early 2020.
The Welsh decision follows a move by the UK Government to roll out a similar system, the Livestock Information Service (LIS).
Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Associaton (NSA), welcomed the Welsh announcement, but warned the system must dovetail seamlessly into the English LIS.
He said: “We can certainly lose track of animals moved across the border if the systems do not talk to each other, so this could cause problems in terms of disease control and traceability for export markets we are developing.”
Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BPMA), raised similar concerns in light of previous Government IT blunders.
“The industry will be watching closely, and if they do not manage to make them talk to one another, there will be considerable difficulties,” he said.
A Welsh Government spokesman told Farmers Guardian EIDCymru had been ‘extremely well-received’ by Welsh farmers and the new system would build on this success.
“We will continue to work very closely with the Livestock Identification Service and other UK administrations on these matters,” the spokesman added.
“A core principle of this work is each system, including the separate ones in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will exchange data seamlessly.”
For NFU Cymru livestock board chairman Wyn Evans, ensuring the database includes information on animal health and the farm assurance status of individual animals is a priority.
“Who owns and who can access the information on the database will be an important part of discussions going forward, as will the long-term funding of the database,” he added.