Local Euro MP Catherine Bearder is defending South East farmers against unfair penalties.
At a meeting of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee this week, Liberal Democrat MEPs called for a moratorium on punishing farmers for tagging infringements until the technical problems with sheep tagging have been ironed out. They also put down amendments to the CAP Simplification Report currently before the Committee calling for the criteria and penalties for non-compliance to be applied in a more proportionate way.
Speaking in support of the moratorium, Catherine said, "a lot of farmers across South East England have complained to me about the unfair and heavy handed nature of the system."
"Our farmers are being punished for minor infringements of the rules, and often it's down to problems with the EID tagging machines rather than the fault of farmers."
"The punishment for these infringements can be huge deductions from their Single Farm Payments."
"The EID scheme is still proving a huge problem for many small livestock farmers because of factors entirely outside their control. A moratorium on penalties while teething troubles are resolved is surely fair."
"We need to make sure the technical problems are sorted out without imposing even bigger and unfair costs on hard pressed local farmers."