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European Journal

Germany: The cattle whisperer

An EU regulation requires all cows to be marked with ear tags. A German organic farmer says the procedure is painful and is refusing to implement it.

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71-year-old farmer Hermann Maier is a real maverick. The cattle on his pastures near Stuttgart are given no antibiotics or hormones, and no ear tags. That means he is contravening EU law, which says all calves have to be tagged. Instead, he prefers to microchip his animals. He says the procedure is not only painless but also reliable. But the Baden-Württemberg state government in Stuttgart wants to put an end to the microchipping practice, because it fears losing EU subsidies.