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The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has selected SouthWestern Business Process Services, in partnership with AMT-SYBEX, to deliver the new sheep, goat and deer recording and movement system for England.

The electronic tagging and tracing system, called ARaMS is based on the APHIS system, developed and owned by AMT-SYBEX and currently used by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland to provide full traceability and quality assurance. The APHIS system has been operational in Northern Ireland since 1997 ensuring the Province had early compliance with EU Directive 64/432 concerned with tracing the movements of animals; and helping eliminate the spread of disease.

The ARaMS system will replace the current paper-based system for movement controls in England. Under the new system, which will go live in the late spring of 2014, farmers will be able to report sheep and goat movements online. The service will include an electronic holding register that will provide keepers with the opportunity to manage their herd records on-line. It will also provide facilities for marts and abattoirs to report movements electronically, meaning faster and more accurate recording of information.

In 2012/2013 over 20,000,000 movements of sheep, goats, and deer took place in England; a recent DEFRA report said that

“without improvements to the movement reporting system, movement data for these species will become progressively out-of-date and unreliable. This would jeopardise Defra’s ability to trace animal movements quickly and accurately in a disease outbreak.”

Brian Mitchell, Director, AMT-SYBEX, commented

“We are delighted to be part of this project. Our system has already delivered significant business benefits to both DARD and the Northern Ireland food production industry and we are confident that it can do the same for DEFRA.”

According to Defra, speaking to the Farmers Guardian, the system will save farmers £560,000 and the taxpayer £6.8 million over the next 10 years and will make it simpler for animal owners to input their movement data and quicker for authorities to access information to track movements “to prevent and control the spread of animal disease”.