Next steps for electronic ID for sheep and goats

Tagged: The final step in Victoria’s five-year staged rollout of its National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) for sheep and goats started on January 1. Photo by Geoff Adams

All sheep and non-exempt goats are now expected to be tagged with an NLIS electronic tag before leaving a Victorian property.

Sheep and goats are tracked for food safety, disease control and market access purposes.

Victoria’s chief veterinary officer Dr Graeme Cooke said electronic tags provided accurate tracking for sheep or goats from property of birth through to export or processing.

“This system provides assurances to our export and domestic markets that we can quickly trace animals in the event of a disease outbreak or food safety issue,” he said.

“It gives Victorian producers a significant advantage and added industry protection.”

Electronic identification was first introduced to Victorian sheep and goat farmers in 2017.

Since then, producers have purchased more than 51 million electronic NLIS (sheep) tags, and almost 35 million sheep and goat movements have been recorded on the NLIS database.

“The hard work by industry has shown that the system is commercially viable and now integrated throughout the whole supply chain,” Dr Cooke said.

“It provides for excellent traceability as indicated by the recent SAFEMEAT sheep traceability evaluation which showed that Victorian EID tagged sheep were 99 per cent traceable, compared to 70 per cent traceability for interstate sheep that do not require electronic tags.”

Since January 1 the duty paid when sheep and goats are traded has risen to 27 cents a head.

Duty payments are collected into the Sheep and Goat Compensation Fund, which gets reinvested into industry through the Livestock Biosecurity Funds grants program.

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