Shetland crofters look set to be hit by new Scottish government penalties over sheep numbers with the introduction of the electronic sheep tagging scheme.
Under the Electronic Identification Scheme (EID) sheep producers can face tough penalites if they cannot produce records which are exactly right, which can often be difficult in the isles.
MSP Tavish Scott said Shetland crofters and farmers had warned the government for years that the compulsory tagging of sheep would not work. Yet it now appeared that the industry was going to be hit by “draconian penalties”.
Mr Scott said: “Both the Scottish government and the European Commission have claimed that they understand that sheep recording cannot ever be 100 per cent accurate in places like Shetland. Anyone who knows anything about animal husbandry knows that to be the case.
“What makes this even more galling is the EID system will do next to nothing to stop the spread of animal disease which was the supposed reason for its introduction.
“It’s time that the Scottish government accepted that sheep EID isn’t fair, cannot work and will penalise the very people who’ve been pointing that out.
“If the EC won’t accept that reality, it’s time for the government to say we are not going to impose this unfair and unworkable system on crofters and farmers. If the government will now take that step they would have my full support.”