Lamb Production

Stock agents call for national sheep traceability system suitable for entire industry

Sheep Central, August 24, 2016

ALPA logoSTOCK agents have called for a national livestock traceability system appropriate for all industry sectors in the wake of the Victorian Government’s decision to require electronic ear tags in all sheep and goats born in the state after January 1, 2017.

In a statement yesterday, the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association said improvements to the country’s traceability systems and ways to improve are always welcome.

“However, there must be a national system that is appropriate for all facets of the industry.”

ALPA said it was frustrated and disappointed with the Victorian Government’s decision to mandate EID tags on all sheep and goats born from 2017 with scanning to start in the state’s saleyards from July next year.

This decision goes against the Victorian government’s commitment to national industry bodies and other state and territories that the government would not mandate tags until a national approach was agreed on and with industry consultation, ALPA said.

“The total disregard for this commitment and lack of national consultation is disappointing.”

The association said visual National Livestock Identification tags, combined with a correctly completed National Vendor Declaration, make the current mob-based system efficient, cost effective and manageable while at the same time providing traceability.

“The current system does and can work well when the business rules are fully implemented and are backed by government.

“We find it alarming that Victoria wants to introduce RFID when they haven’t fully implemented the current mob based system,” ALPA said.

Can an EID tag reading system works in saleyards?

ALPA chief executive officer Andy Madigan said no one from Victorian Government can demonstrate how an EID system can work in a saleyard environment at commercial speeds after repeatedly asking for this information. Previously ALPA has been unable to receive costings on scanners and readers if the Victorian government were to mandate implement RFID, he said.

ALPA said some Victorian saleyards yard in their peak selling periods in excess of 50,000 sheep and lambs on sale days.

“We have serious concerns to the animal welfare of sheep and lambs spending more time than is necessary in saleyards.

“There are also OH&S implications for our agent members who will be exposed to increased risk due to the additional time required to be spent in the saleyards,” Mr Madigan said.

“Transporters are also exposed to increased time pressures with regards driver fatigue management.”

Mr Madigan acknowledged there will be confusion for cross border trade and the potential for lack of competition for livestock from buyers, but also the message that is being sent to our overseas trading partners with Victoria wishing to operate under a different system to the rest of Australia.

ALPA said it will be engaging with the Victorian Government during the proposed Victorian Government consultation period to ensure the best possible outcome for ALPA members and their vendor clients in Victoria and across Australia.

Source: ALPA.

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