Farm sector given 2 years to implement obligatory e-tags for sheep and goats

Will probably be obligatory in Australia for farmers to tag sheep and goats with digital identification tags from January 1, 2025.

The digital identification (EID) tags are already utilized in cattle throughout Australia, however Victoria is the one state the place it’s obligatory for sheep and goats.

Different states depend on a paper-based mob-tracing system.

A gathering of agriculture ministers earlier this month agreed to set the deadline for the “vital reform”. It’s anticipated to enhance traceability within the occasion of a livestock illness outbreak.

“Ministers agreed to work with business in the direction of obligatory implementation of nationwide particular person identification for sheep and goats in every jurisdiction by 1 January, 2025,” the communique from the assembly acknowledged.

“Officers will report again to ministers on issues regarding implementation and governance preparations.”

At present, EID sheep tags are promoting for greater than $2 every, whereas typical tags utilized in mob-based tracing are retailing for as low cost as 26 cents a tag.

The New South Wales and federal governments had held out in opposition to particular person sheep tags for greater than six years, whereas Victoria moved forward independently in 2016.

The transfer was criticised on the time by then federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce as too costly.

In Victoria, the introduction of the EID tags for sheep and goats was considerably subsidised by the state authorities.

Following an outbreak of foot and mouth illness (FMD) in Bali earlier this yr, the NSW authorities agreed to assist the pressing introduction of obligatory EID.

NSW agriculture minister Dougald Saunders stated if graziers did not observe the EID mandate they would not have the ability to promote livestock.

“If it is mandated, you will be unable to promote in the event you’re not a part of the method. Easy as that,” he stated.

“You will not be promoting to abattoirs in the event you’re not following the method that is mandated.”

Deadline met with blended response

WoolProducers chief government Jo Corridor stated the 2025 deadline was formidable and that numerous work was taking place behind the scenes with business and authorities.

“We’re supportive of obligatory EID for sheep for biosecurity functions, contingent on three issues: It is a nationwide database, [a] nationwide harmonised strategy and equitable cost-sharing between business and authorities for the institution and upkeep of the scheme,” he stated.

“That is about traceability reform, not simply sticking a tag in an ear, as there’s way more work to be performed to make sure a sturdy system.”

In western NSW, president of the Pastoralists Affiliation of West Darling Terry Smith stated EID was not crucial and that the system posed a “huge” work and security threat.

“The processors and the producers and exporters are at the moment pleased with the prevailing association,” he stated.

“If now we have to start out tagging full-grown goats, and plenty of them, there’s an enormous threat … of horns strike to folks’s faces to eyes and fingers.”

Mr Smith was already doubtful about how the tagging system might forestall a illness outbreak.

“It will not forestall the outbreak, it might make traceability faster if there’s an outbreak, but it surely will not forestall it,” he stated.

“I imply that can occur whether or not the animals have gotten an digital tag or not.”

Mr Smith additionally stated it could possibly be tough for folks residing in distant areas who won’t be outfitted to do digital tagging.

In February 2020, a significant evaluation of Australia’s meat sector by the business and authorities group SafeMeat really useful that every one livestock be fitted with EID by 2025.

SafeMeat advisory group chairman Andrew Henderson informed the ABC that the power to rapidly hint livestock was central to reassuring buying and selling companions that Australian meat was protected.

There are about 70 million sheep in Australia.

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