Opposition to new sheep tag plan escalates

30 Dec, 2008 03:13 PM
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Expectations for the current National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) for sheep have been too high, too soon, according to sheepmeat committee chairman, NSW Farmers Association, Ian McColl, Koorawatha.
Expectations for the current National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) for sheep have been too high, too soon, according to sheepmeat committee chairman, NSW Farmers Association, Ian McColl, Koorawatha.

Sheep might not have enough space in their ears to cope with what is being described as a knee jerk suggestion – transaction tags for each new owner of sheep and goats.

Not only has the proposal been branded as an unnecessary cost, but it has also raised welfare concerns for the stock.

Sheep already carry a breeder’s tag and could end up with several transaction tags after being traded.

The multiple transaction tag plan was suggested by the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) sheep committee in reaction to the European Union delegation's audit findings last June, which revealed holes in the traceability of stock to their last place of residence.

However, transaction tags weren't addressing the core problem of traceability, which comes back to the correct completion of the paperwork accompanying NLIS, says NSW Farmers Association sheepmeat committee chairman, Ian McColl.

Mr McColl's warning came just before the introduction of the final stage of the NLIS sheep and goat requirements for the current system, which comes into place this week (January 1).

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READER COMMENTS

Ian
31/12/2008 6:43:00 AM

The only way to give a reasonable gaurantee of traceability is to use an electronic tag system. Everyone will scream about the cost but the paperwork involved in recording every tag number in a consignment of sheep would be a nightmare. That will be the only way of knowing what sheep are in a load. As far as I can see, this will mean actually reading every tag number and recording it on the waybill. If we are serious about NLIS for sheep, the only practical way will be electronic. Or scrap the idea, because a manual system will not work.

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