12 September 2016

Sheep and Goat ID Tags

Consultation is currently underway in Victoria regarding the state's new sheep and goat identification regime.

From 1 January 2017 all sheep and goats born in Victoria will require an electronic identification tag, linked to the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), before being shipped to a saleyard, abattoir or another property.  From mid next year all Victorian saleyards, abattoirs and knackeries will be required to scan the electronic tags and upload the information to the NLIS database.

The Department's media release states
Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford today announced a four week consultation period on both the transition package and draft implementation standards to ensure the smooth introduction of the electronic identification system. 
Funding to support the transition will be provided based on feedback received and will focus on the phased adoption of electronic identification technology across the supply chain. Agriculture Victoria will take feedback on the draft standards and transition package to assist with the implementation. 
While the current national approach is a mob-based visual tag system, individual electronic tags offer greater traceability, productivity improvement and information for key international trading partners. 
Electronic identification tags have been mandatory in the cattle industry for over a decade. In addition to the traceability benefits during a disease outbreak or food safety emergency, the storage of individual animal data provides opportunities for producers to further improve their production systems. 
Agriculture Victoria currently retails the cheapest electronic NLIS tags in Australia thanks to a competitive tendering process and increased demand for the tags is likely to deliver even cheaper products to support producers adopting the technology.
The Department elsewhere notes
Victoria introduced pig tattoo branding requirements in December 1977, in conjunction with other States. Following consultation with industry, the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 has requirements for the identification of pigs being consigned for sale or slaughter. 
The requirements are:
  • All pigs being consigned for sale, or to an abattoir or knackery for slaughter, must be identified by either a tattoo brand or ear tag, depending on bodyweight, before they leave their property of origin. 
  • Pigs less than 25 kg body weight must be tagged with an approved ear tag. This tag has the same numbers as the tattoo brand. It is not an option to tattoo pigs less than 25 kg body weight; they must be ear tagged. 
  • Pigs over 25 kg body weight are required to be tattooed with the owner's tattoo brand. 
  • Pigs that have been purchased earlier and are then sold must be tattooed with the current dispatching property tattoo brand. 
  • All pigs must be accompanied by a current and valid PigPass National Vendor Declaration (NVD) when moving from a property to a saleyard or abattoir. Pigs also require a PigPass NVD when moving from property to property, except where the ownership of the pig(s) remains unchanged and the property of dispatch can be identified for the life of the pigs.