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May 15 2005 BCMS and calf passports (Extract from the farmer's written background to the case at Taunton County Court)

"..a BCMS official has informed me that the final cut off date for the eartagging of a calf is not the responsibility of BCMS, but it is the responsibility of DEFRA.."

The booklets covering the passport regulations which have been sent to farmers by BCMS ( eg; the ones which have not gone astray in the post ! ) are also misleading and incomplete, in that they only specify the final cut off date for accepting passport applications as being 7days after a calf has been ear tagged.

Whilst the booklet also informs us that there is a legal cut off date by which time calves must have been eartagged, it fails to specify the number of days involved with this - although I have found out from another source that it is actually 20 days after birth.

Had the booklet informed us of the number of days from birth when a calf has to be legally eartagged as well as informing us of the need to apply for a passport within seven days from the date when the animal is tagged - then we could have added the two periods together, thus arriving at the final 27 day old cut off date when the calf passport application needs to have been made.

However, a BCMS official has informed me that the final cut off date for the eartagging of a calf is not the responsibility of BCMS, but it is the responsibility of DEFRA; thus insinuating that it was not the duty of BCMS to publish this information.

But surely, for ease of understanding such a central criteria of the application procedure, the overall cut off date for passport applications needs to be clearly highlighted in the BCMS booklet ( irrespective of which dept is responsible for disseminating the various information over the various different cut off dates; for tagging, for passport applications, etc )

. The solution is so simple and will ensure that farmers are left in no uncertainty over the total number of days after the birth of a calf ( eg 27 day deadline) when he or she needs to have applied for a passport.

The whole confusion of deadline dates is compounded further by the fact that the deadline for passport applications has been changed on several occasions since the inception of this scheme in 1998; the previous deadline date being 28 days after the birth of the calf which was reduced to 27 days in 2000.