A TAGGING system for rangelands goats will become a reality for pastoralists as the national push for identification and traceability of livestock gains momentum.
At a meeting in Mount Magnet in September pastoralists, abattoir and export representatives, the stock squad, depot operators and Agriculture Department staff met to discuss a proposal for the management of goats in the rangelands.
Under the system, goats sent directly from the property of origin to slaughter would not require identification (tagging) but would require trace back capability in the form of waybills and national vendor declarations.
All other goats sent from the property of origin would require identification - including goats being sent for live export, goats being sold to a depot and inter-property movement.
Live goat exports have helped sustain many pastoral businesses through a tough economic period in a region where alternative production and market options are limited.
Carnarvon district manager of the Agriculture Department Rod Williams, who assisted in the formulation of the guidelines, said they would allow accreditation for goat meat products.
Southern rangelands regional animal health coordinator Bob Nickels said a review into th
e export of live goats had been completed by consultants on behalf of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Livecorp and th its recommendations had been accepted.
Producers will have demonstrate that they have the infrastructure and on-property management procedures to be classified as managed goat producers to access live export markets.
Unmanaged goats were considered to be a higher mortality risk for live export.
Other recommendations stipulate that from January 1, 2005, captured or feral goats would not be selected for short haul voyages (less than 10 days) or long haul voyages (more than 10 days).
Only goats from managed production systems would be permitted for live export, a recommendation that some live exporters have challenged.
During the phase-out period, the report recommended captured or feral goats only be eligible for live export if they were accustomed to people, were relatively stress-free and were used to eating and drinking in feedlot conditions from the time of arrival at the pre-export assembly depot.
Livestock exporter Kerry Haddleton, who buys 99pc of his goats from pastoral areas, believes that the new identification system would be beneficial in the long term.
"I think in the long term the goat export industry would benefit from the changes to identification and traceback but it will take time to implement and shouldn't be forced on the industry,² Mr Haddleton said.
³From our perspective the tagging will assist in helping us build up a history of where goats come from and will allow us to identify the management practices of different suppliers."