Written Answers. - Beef Assurance Scheme.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

98 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when he intends the new national beef assurance scheme to be introduced, with full computerisation of the national cattle herd and traceability in place. [8283/98]

The national beef assurance scheme will be introduced later this year and will include a comprehensive animal identification and tracing system. Many elements of animal identification and tracing, for example bovine tagging, registration of calf births, cattle passports, computerised animal location file, are already in place. These measures are now being enhanced by the introduction of a computerised cattle movement monitoring system. This system involves the collection of animal movement data electronically from marts, meat export plants, larger domestic abattoirs and live export points and the use of a paper notification system in respect of other movements. The practical arrangements for implementation of this system such as installation of equipment, training, development of the necessary computer programs, etc, are well advanced.