Need for effective movement database

24th June 2011

Ten years on from the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak the sheep industry is no nearer to an effective database on information of sheep movements then it was then.

"The current system for recording the movement of sheep is ineffective and lacking and must be updated, it's time for a new approach with an industry owned, led and operated system being put in place," said Chris Dodds, Executive Secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association.

"No progress has been made over the past 10 years and if we were to have another significant disease outbreak, the impact on the sheep industry could be equally as devastating as FMD in 2001".

Currently the Animal Movement Licencing System (AMLS) is responsible for delivering accurate and timely information on sheep movements. The system relies on The Trading Standards departments of Local Authorities. However AMLS relies on the manual imputing of forms, it is unable to receive information electronically and is not up to date. This means that if there was an outbreak of notifiable disease all movements would be stopped, nationally, until the AMLS had been completely and accurately populated.

The recently published independent farming regulation task force report by Richard MacDonald recommended that there should be an "immediate adoption of a single database, commercially and privately operated to record sheep movements ultimately to replace and make redundant the animal movement licencing system.

"The time is right for an industry run national database. 85% of all sheep movements are through markets and abattoirs and by using electronic data transfer it would be easy to implement an effective database", said Mr Dodds.

Already a number of auction marts are trialling a database system.

"The establishment of such a database should not be seen as a "step too far", said Mr Dodds "it should be owned and operated by the industry with the government and other agencies buying information when required. Such as database could be developed and run at no additional cost to the industry leaving it in control of its own destiny and shortening any standstill time enforced during a disease outbreak".

Ends

For further information please contact:

Chris Dodds, Executive Secretary, Livestock Auctioneers Association
01697 475 433 / 07885 731 502
[email protected]

Andrew Kendall
01394 610022
[email protected]

Notes to editors:
The Livestock Auctioneers' Association is the national organisation representing auctioneering firms which occupy and run the livestock auction markets of England and Wales. Its members handle the vast majority of all auction sales of farm livestock. The Association is also supported by representatives of the Institute of Appraisers and Auctioneers in Scotland.