We took 8 of our best on Sunday to a staging post in Gloucestershire prior to their departure for Switzerland. They left early this morning for their new life in the Swiss Alps.
I don’t enjoy selling animals. It’s one of the downsides of having a real commitment to your stock that you get attached to them. I try hard to be objective and largely succeed but it’s still tough. I put a great deal of time and energy into each one of these animals from the moment they are born. It’s the only way to get top quality, happy, healthy breeding stock.
In this case I know where they are going and I know the people who will be looking after them. I was lucky enough to visit the Swiss farmers in March and had a fabulous trip. They will be fine and have a great life in the glorious Swiss mountains. They also have an important job to do – improving Swiss cashmere. I know I will get regular updates on their progress.
Here are some pics of them just before they left our farm. I will post some more of their arrival in Switzerland – I know for sure I will get some!
You would not believe the paperwork involved in exporting farm animals. In total we had with us in the vehicle:
1. An export certificate signed by our vet within 48 hours of departure so the animals could go to the export collection centre in Gloucestershire (cost £50). This certified the health of the animals and that they were from herds in the two national health schemes essential for export.
2. A certificate from the Scrapie Scheme (2 copies signed by my vet – fee £50)
3. A certificate from the CAE Accreditation Scheme (2 copies) The scheme costs me over £150 a year to belong to.
4. A letter from my vet stating that the goats had been vaccinated against BTV8 (essential for Switzerland) cost £50
5. A test certificate from NPTC for both me and DH stating that we had passed our exam and were competent to carry our goats in our own vehicle. (Cost £110 – lasts 5 years) Required by DEFRA
6. A Certificate of Animal Transport from DEFRA stating nothing, achieving nothing and fortunately costing-nothing. We need it but goodness knows why!
7. A letter for the Lairage (Export Centre) vet explaining what vaccinations/meds the animals had had.
8. A letter for the Swiss import authorities vet detailing the same as above.
9. An AML form detailing the movement of my animals from home to the Export Centre, a copy of which had to be sent to Trading Standards of Gloucestershire by today.
When the goats left the Export Centre they would have carried 2,3,4 and 8 plus, another massive Export Health Certificate signed by a second vet at the Export centre repeating all the info on the first certificate. The driver of the lorry would have had to carry his version of 5 and 6 costing much more than ours and another version of 9 which would cover him until he left England at the port!
When we exported animals to Germany last year the driver of the lorry and the person who received all the paperwork just binned the lot. Not one person once they got to the channel ports in the UK or France looked at any of the transport information and the German vets merely telephoned the farmer to see if the animals had arrived. This is a good example of EU wide bureaucracy overinterpreted by DEFRA. Simplification is easy. Just ask the people who have to do it all the time. We would make it better at ensuring animal health and welfare AND save a fortune at the same time!