EAR tags on moved or sold sheep are now compulsory after National Livestock Identification System (N

06 Dec, 2006 08:45 PM
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Any sheep or goats moved from their property of birth must be tagged with an NLIS year-colour tag imprinted with the owner¹s brand.

The year-colour tag must be placed in the right ear for female stock and in the left ear for male stock.

Sheep being moved from a property other than its property of birth must be tagged with a pink NLIS tag.

The pink tags should also be imprinted with the registered brand of the property of origin.

The pink tag is placed in the opposite ear to the year-colour tag which denotes the sheep or goat¹s year of birth.

Agriculture Department senior veterinary officer Farran Dixon said the ability to quickly track an animal¹s history was vital in the event of disease.

³If we have an outbreak of an exotic disease like foot and mouth, we are immediately locked out of international markets,² Dr Dixon said.

³With NLIS tagging we can trace stock quickly and more efficiently.

³The sooner we can eradicate the disease, the sooner we can get back into the marketplace.²

Export markets are increa-singly demanding information about the exact origin of impor-ted meat products. Coming from a reliable tracking system plays a vital role in ensuring consumer and market confidence in the product.

Dr Dixon said most producers were already fulfilling the requirements of the scheme but some would need to organise their stock to be ear tagged as soon as possible.

³WA already has the most effective sheep and goat tracing system in Australia but these new regulations give legal backing to NLIS,² he said.

Dr Dixon reminded producers that previous tags should remain in the ear to show the animal¹s complete history.

He reiterated that completed national vendor declarations were essential for producers moving stock.

There were some exemptions to the NLIS regulations. These included lambs moving directly to slaughter and pastoral goats moving between neighbouring properties.

Earmarking of goats remained optional but sheep still require earmarks.

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