Livestock producers urged to improve compliance with traceability activities
All Livestock producers face significant business risk if an Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) outbreak reaches Australia, so now is the time to focus on meeting all compliance requirements for your livestock traceability.
The length and severity of an outbreak will depend on the time to detection and the ability to quickly trace infected livestock through the supply chain.
At the centre of livestock tracing is the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS). The NLIS is Australia’s system for the identification and traceability of sheep, cattle and goats which underpins our commitment to biosecurity and food safety.
The NLIS combines three elements which allow for lifetime traceability of livestock. All physical locations where livestock are kept must be identified by a Property Identification Code (PIC), all livestock data and movements must be recorded in a central database managed by the Integrity Systems Company (ISC) and all livestock must be identified by a visual or electronic ear tag or device.
The South Australian livestock industry can support current traceability by ensuring National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) are filled in accurately. All livestock which move between PIC numbers are required to travel with a movement document such as an NVD. Many producers rely on using an NVD they have previously filled in and copy information which is incorrect for the new consignment into the new NVD. The NVD is a legal document, so it is important that producers fill in the document with information that reflects the animals they are moving.
Each time an animal is moved off a PIC, it must be recorded on the NLIS database. This is a regulatory obligation and when it isn’t done it leaves holes in our state’s ability to trace livestock. In South Australia, the transfer must be completed on the NLIS database within two days after the movement for cattle and 7 days after the movement for sheep and goats. Recording movements allows us to trace what animals are moving where and when, which is particularly important when trying to determine the source and spread of a disease.
It is the responsibility of the receiver of the livestock to complete the transfer on the NLIS database. If you have recently purchased or moved cattle, sheep or goats from another property, it is your responsibility to ensure the transfer has been completed. While some livestock agents offer to do the transfer as part of their service offering, producers should confirm with their agent who is going to complete the transfer. Producers must be aware that it is their legal obligation, and they will be the one facing the non-compliance repercussions.
If animals are bought, sold, or moved through a saleyard, the livestock movement must be completed by the saleyard. If animals are directly consigned to the abattoir, the movement must be recorded by the abattoir.
You must ensure the animals that are on your property reflect what is recorded on the database, particularly for producers who are accredited under the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) scheme. ISC recommend LPA accredited producers complete a PIC reconciliation annually to identify and correct discrepancies in the database.
It is vital that every South Australian livestock producer places greater emphasis on accurate traceability, this will ensure that if an outbreak does occur the industry is in the best place to quickly respond and reduce the animal welfare, social and environmental impacts that could follow.