LHPA says no to electronic tagging
THE current mob-based system of traceability for sheep and goats in New South Wales meets national tracing standards and the Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA) are encouraging producers, saleyard operators and stock and station agents to help them ensure compliance.
Chair of the LHPA State Management Council, Ian Donges, says they are working with all sections of the sheep industry to gather information to support the NSW case to retain the current mob-based movement system.
This evidence will be provided to the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, in early July in an effort to avoid the mandatory introduction of electronic tagging, radio frequency identification (RFID), in NSW.
“In late 2012, the NSW National Livestock Identification (NLIS) Steering Committee and the NSW NLIS Sheep and Goat Implementation Advisory Committee met and agreed to try a different approach to saleyard compliance monitoring,” says Mr Donges.
“The aim of this new approach was to ensure traceability and to provide comparative compliance costs between the mob-based paper and electronic systems.”
As a result of these discussions, a trial began at the Carcoar CTLX saleyards in the Tablelands LHPA, aimed at finding and fixing compliance problems, and providing feedback, he says.
“The initial trial was successful and we have agreed that further trials at a state level, as well other activities to compliment these, should be carried out to prove that the mob-based system is fully capable of meeting the national tracing standards,” says Mr Donges.
“Our vets and rangers are encouraging producers to work closely and co-operatively with LHPA staff, saleyard operators and stock station agents during this trial period, which has already commenced in some areas.”
Mr Donges says that despite criticisms of the mob-based system, the introduction of a mandatory electronic tagging system will be impractical, expensive and unnecessary.
“The cost of RIFDs could be as much as $3.30 per sheep to producers with unknown costs to saleyard operators, agents and processors which is a burden the industry can’t afford,” he says.
“The trials will continue until June 30 and will also allow us to clearly demonstrate the need and capability to achieve 100 per cent compliance to vendors, agents and buyers, which is essential to ensure the biosecurity of the state is protected.”
From July 1, state inspectors will administer fees and penalties to those who are non-compliant.
“LHPAs will continue to work with and support industry on this issue,” Mr Donges says. [more]