The Deputy Director of Animal Health, Dr Kobedi Segale, says that they are confident that the change from using bolus to ear tagging for cattle identification will go a long way in helping to resolve the problem of cattle identification in the country.
He said that the system is used worldwide for the purpose of cattle identification and that its use is similar to that of bolus, which is to identify cattle.
Segale denied reports that high ranking officials are in Europe to inform it about its decision to replace bolus system used for identification of cattle with ear tagging. He said that the officers in Europe went there to attend an International Animal Health Conference and not for the purpose of meeting with the EU.
“Those officers have gone to attend an international animal health conference which has got nothing to do with our decision to change to ear tagging,” he said.
He also said that it was not even necessary to inform the EU about the change as it is a worldwide practice.
Sources in the Department had said that the officials had left for Europe for the sole purpose of informing the EU about the change from using bolus to ear tagging. According to the sources, who asked for anonymity, the team departed for Europe immediately after the decision to change from bolus to ear tagging was made and announced to the general public.
Asked whether the EU will agree to the change of cattle identification, the source said that it is very difficult to say as the EU is very strict about the issue of cattle identification, which has seen Botswana being delisted from the EU last year.
“I think they are facing a very difficult task of convincing the EU that ear tagging is better than bolus as we speak,” said the source. Though confirming that Namibia is using the ear tagging system and selling to the EU, he said the situation is different in Namibia as only cattle in farms are sold to EU in that country.
He conceded that the worst scenario in this issue would be if the EU says that it will only buy beef from ear tagged cattle if they are from farms as is the case in Namibia as a majority of cattle in the country are not in farms.