• The introduction of electronic identification has proved extremely controversial. UK sheep farmers argued that the EU requirements were expensive and of little value. Defra obtained certain concessions, but the main policy came into force on 1 January 2010.

• The Defra webpage, Sheep identification and movement, gives the latest information on electronic tagging of sheep.

• Farming unions throughout the EU are pressing for a review of the EU electronic sheep tagging regulation. Concerns over the details of electronic tagging remain very strong.

• Unprofitability of sheep farmers is a considerable problem. Consumers are buying less sheep meat each year. Wool fetches a very low price because of competition from synthetic substances.

• Sheep farming becomes more profitable when sterling is weak relative to the euro.

• The sheep flock continues to decline in size.

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