Swine Premise Registration Process for National Livestock ID Traceability Underway

CANADA (Farmscape, 2078) - The provincial pork organizations on the Prairies have started collecting the information that will ultimately lead to the establishment of a new national identification and traceability system for swine.
calendar icon 5 March 2006
clock icon 6 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2078

The Canadian pork industry, as part of its commitment to the creation of a national multispecies livestock identification and traceability system, is in the process of establishing the infrastructure that will allow officials to quickly and easily identify and track the movement of pigs within Canada.

Multispecies Traceability Being Coordinated by CLIA

While the overall process is being coordinated under the direction of the Canadian Livestock Identification Agency, which has developed broad standards and guidelines applicable to all species, the participating commodity groups are creating processes and procedures specific their species.

The pork industry is targeting 2008 as the date by which it intends to have full identification and traceability. The structure will consist of four main elements, which are being phased in over time. They include: registering and issuing premise identification numbers to every swine operation in Canada, the implementation of a new national tattoo structure, the creation of a western slaughter database to track animals from the farm to the slaughter plant, and the creation of an electronic database to track animals from farm to farm.

Premise Registration Now Well Underway

Step one, the premise registration process, got going on the prairies in January with Sask Pork being the first to start circulating premise registration forms to the just under 400 locations where pigs are produced in Saskatchewan. Alberta Pork put approximately 1,300 forms into the mail during the last week of February and Manitoba Pork Council will be sending out registration forms, next week (March 6-10), to its approximately 1400 producers who operate in Manitoba.

Each province is circulating its own form, which will accommodate specific regional differences. But all are asking for the same basic information and they all go back to the principles of traceability, animal movement and controlling foreign animal disease.

Producer Response Described as Excellent

“In Saskatchewan hogs are produced at approximately 390 unique locations and we have registered about 285 or 72 percent of these premises,“ says Mark Ferguson, a policy analyst with Sask Pork.

He explains, “We’ve had great cooperation from the larger producers in the province as, of these 285 registered producers, this accounts for 85 percent of the total hog production in the province.“

Ferguson adds, “We are hoping to have 100 percent of the premises registered by the middle of March.“

Alberta and Manitoba, which are running slightly behind Saskatchewan, both hope to have the registration process completed by the end of March.

“What we’ve done,“ says Bill Mullen, a field service specialist with Alberta Pork, “is gone off our mailing list and we’ve sent it [the registration package] out to just over 1,300 producers. How many premises is that going to be? We don’t know at this point, but that’s part of the registration.“

“We’ll get all those answers coming back but we’re assuming we’ll be somewhere in the range of 1,300 to 1,500 premises. We have cases where one producer will have multiple sites.“ He notes, “Producers are starting to send the forms back already.“

Tattoo Number Reallocation to Begin as Premise Registration Concludes

Ferguson explains, “Once we have received registration information for 100 percent of the known premises in the province, we will start issuing new tattoo numbers to all the producers. These unique identifiers basically form the basis of the traceability system. We are asking producers to begin using their assigned numbers on May 1st. Basically premise registration is an important step in establishing a solid traceability system and the traceability system can not proceed until all premises are registered.“

Saskatchewan Targets May 1, Alberta and Manitoba June 1

Ferguson adds, “In Saskatchewan we’d like to get going as soon as possible. We think we can have the information out to all producers by April so we’d like to get going on May 1.“

Alberta Pork and Manitoba Pork Council are each targeting June 1 as the date for the switch to the new tattoo numbering system in their respective provinces.

Registration Forms Seek Detailed Information

The registration forms are actually fairly detailed.

“It’s similar across the west,“ says Jeff Clark, Manitoba Pork Council’s animal identification and traceability specialist. “Producers will be receiving premise registration forms and, to clarify, a premise is the actual farm. We’re not so much interested in the actual producer but rather the plot of land, the barn, because that will be central to traceability, to tracking disease movement. Using the premises we will assign market tattoo numbers that will be specific to each premise.“

Clark notes, “[The forms request] information such as the plot of land on which they farm using the legal land description on their certificate of title, production information such as types of animals, numbers of animals, manure storage, manure application and then contact information, both the barn owner and also barn workers.“

He explains, “In the event of an emergency authorities will have to get a hold of the owner but they’ll also need to get a hold of whoever it may be on farm and, in some cases, those might be different people.“

Mullen stresses, “In the case of a foreign animal disease, we have to know who the proper contact is, where the hogs came from and where they’re going, where do you sell your hogs and who’s your packer, who’s your marketing agency? We also ask who their veterinarians are. That’s also relevant to trace back and foreign animal disease eradication or control.“

Producers Recognize Importance of Traceability

Ferguson adds, “When we [Sask Pork] sent out the information, premise registration forms, to producers we included a great information package that told them why we’re doing this and how we’re going to do it and how it fits into the big picture. I think that most producers read the information, understood it and realize that it's going to be of great importance to the industry. I think that’s why we’ve had great acceptance.“

Mullen agrees, “The national system is so important to protecting our place in the world as a provider of safe and wholesome food. It’s something that producers understand. It’s producer driven. That’s what I like about it. We don’t need to sell this to producers. They understand the need for it and, from what we’re seeing, are being very cooperative with it.“

Mullen urges those who have not already returned the packages to be timely with their forms.

He adds anyone with questions shouldn’t hesitate to call their provincial pork council.

Staff Farmscape.Ca
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