Dáil Éireann - Volume 507 - 29 June, 1999
Written Answers. - Herd Register.
Mr. McGrath Mr. McGrath
102. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the official format for the new herd register to be kept by farmers; the authority or regulation his Department approves, particularly software packages for a computerised version for this register; and if an inspector of his Department will require access to the computer hardware or if access to a printout of the information will suffice on inspection of a computerised herd register. [16753/99]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): EU legislation requires herdowners to keep herd registers of bovine animals and prescribes the information that the register must contain. The consolidated herd register book that my Department recently supplied to herdowners is designed to enable herdowners to record all of the required information. The details that must be recorded in respect of each animal are – date of birth – this is not required for animals tagged before the introduction of the plastic tagging system in 1996 – breed-colour; sex; in the case of an animal moved off the holding, the date of movement and the name and address, or herd number-mart number, of the new owner-keeper; and in the case of an animal that dies on the holding, the date of death and the method of disposal of the carcase.
The EU regulations permit the herd register to be kept in a computer format approved by the competent authority in the member state. It is  necessary that any computerised version of the herd register should contain similar security features to those included in the herd register book. Essentially this means that there must be a full and clear audit trail of any changes that are made to entries in the register and that entries in the register cannot be deleted without trace. There is an onus on herdowners, who choose to keep their herd register records on computer, to provide a printout of the register on request for inspection purposes. In the ordinary course of events, printouts will suffice for the purpose of inspections carried out by my Department. However, situations may arise where my Department would require direct access to the computer records.
Dáil Éireann 507 Written Answers. Herd Register.