The law has finally caught up with the Wagin giant ram.
After 32 years, the seven metre high homage to the sheep industry, known as ‘Bart’, now complies with National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) requirements.
The Department of Agriculture and Food has attached a red light-weight, plastic tag in Bart’s left ear to highlight the importance of livestock traceability and to promote the department’s Sheep NLIS Helpdesk at Wagin Woolorama.
Department NLIS operations manager Beth Green said livestock traceability was essential to provide consumers and the market with confidence in the quality of Western Australia’s livestock and sheep meat products.
“This begins on the breeder’s property, where animals are required to have a year-of-birth ear tag with either a brand or property identification code of the owner,” Ms Green said.
“Sheep brought in from another owner are required to be fitted with an additional NLIS pink tag and their movements to the property recorded on the NLIS database.
“The year-of-birth and pink ear tags provide an immediate and visual lifetime history of the individual animal’s movements from owner to owner. This is why no NLIS tag should ever be removed.”
Livestock identification and traceability is also crucial in the event of an animal disease outbreak or other incident.
“In addition to assisting in management, the tags facilitate a more rapid response in the event of a biosecurity incident,” Ms Green said.
“This vastly accelerates the time taken to trace the animal’s movements, which is crucial if there was an outbreak of a disease, such as foot-and-mouth disease.”
As year-of-birth tags were not mandatory when the model for Bart, a Jaloran stud ram called Tullock, was born, the department has adorned the Giant Ram with a red tag for 2006 – the year Sheep NLIS was implemented.
Staff from the department’s Sheep NLIS Helpdesk will be at Wagin Woolorama to assist people with enquiries about all aspects of the system, as well as the use of National Vendor Declaration (NVD) waybills.
“It is important for NVD waybills to be completed correctly and for movement information to be entered into the NLIS database so it can be retrieved immediately to aid a response to a disease outbreak or food safety issue,” Ms Green said.
Bart’s new promotional ear tag is part of the department’s Boosting Biosecurity Defences project, and will remain for the duration of Wagin Woolorama.
Some of the project’s other activities will be profiled in the department’s Woolorama display, including how to get the most out of the MyPestGuide Reporter app, early animal disease detection activities and work being done to support regional biosecurity responses.
Source: DAFWA. For more information about the department’s Sheep NLIS Helpdesk, visit agric.wa.gov.au and search for ‘sheep nlis helpdesk’. To contact the Helpdesk telephone 9363 4150 (Monday to Friday 9-5pm) or email [email protected]