NSW to lobby for national sheep and goat EID system

Sheep Central, July 19, 2022

NSW Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders with Fletcher International Exports principal Roger Fletcher.

A NATIONAL transition to electronic identification tags for sheep and goats to help defend Australia against infectious diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease will be proposed by the New South Wales Government to all Australian agriculture ministers tomorrow afternoon.

NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders today announced the AMM initiative in support of growing industry calls for the urgent development of a national mandatory EID system for sheep and goats.

Mr Saunders again did not indicate if the NSW Government is prepared to co-fund the EID system transition, but said the government will “work with producers and industry to deliver on their concerns and develop a practical system that works for them”.

“We will work with all jurisdictions, and with industry, to develop a framework that works for everyone across the whole supply chain,” Mr Saunders said.

The NSW Agriculture Minister said the FMD crisis in Indonesia, and its recent spread to Bali, is a significant threat to the livestock industry, with the potential to cost the Australian economy $80 billion and send shockwaves through regional communities for years to come.

“That’s why the NSW Government has been pushing for the Federal Government to further increase biosecurity measures to keep FMD out of Australia.

“Individual traceability for sheep and goats will be crucial during an emergency disease outbreak and deliver benefits across the supply chain,” he said.

“An effective national traceability system is critical to ensure NSW can continue exporting more than $1 billion in sheep meat each year,” the minister said.

“Any change towards an electronic identification system for sheep and goats needs to be implemented nationally to ensure consistency and functionality across all states, and be developed hand in hand with industry to ensure it is practical and cost-effective.

“The introduction of a national system won’t happen overnight,” Mr Saunders said.

“It will take time to get right, which is why it’s important to start the conversation now.”

Currently, the National Livestock Identification System includes electronic identification of individual animals to allow tracing of cattle, but apart from in Victoria where sheep and goat EID is mandatory, all other states rely on a mob-based system for the tracing of small stock.

SPA and AMIC support national sheep and goat EID

Sheep Producers Australia chief executive officer Bonnie Skinner said industry has been calling for a national electronic ID scheme for sheep.

“Sheep Producers Australia supports individual electronic identification in conjunction with broader whole-of-system reform that will provide a viable opportunity for the sheep industry to strengthen traceability for biosecurity, food safety, and to support market access requirements.

“The rapid and reliable tracing of livestock plays a significant part in emergency disease response; the faster animals are traced the greater the chance of controlling the disease outbreak and minimising its economic and social effects,” Ms Skinner said.

“Electronically identified livestock can be traced with greater efficiency and accuracy than visually identified livestock. A key principle underpinning the evolution of a traceability system must be the harmonisation of traceability standards and centralisation to create a truly national system.

“This is critical, because the value of what we produce is defined by our capacity to export and that capacity is underpinned by our national traceability system,” she said.

Australian Meat Industry Council CEO Patrick Hutchinson called for the entire agricultural industry to support a national, individual, electronic-based small stock traceability program to detect and prevent the spread of exotic animal disease.

“To make sure the entire country is prepared for a disease outbreak like FMD we need to act right now to start the process of developing a national EID system for sheep and goats.

“AMIC has been calling for a national, individual, electronic-based small stock traceability program, including all parts of the sheep and goat industry, and welcomes the move by the NSW Government to work with industry along state and federal governments to implement a stronger more evolved sheep traceability program,” Mr Hutchinson said.

For more information on Foot and Mouth Disease, visit


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Sheep Central's news headlines emailed to you -