Effort to Develop National Swine ID and Traceability Structure Marks Milestone

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2133. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.
calendar icon 6 May 2006
clock icon 7 minute read

Farm-Scape, Episode 2133

The process of developing a national multi-species livestock identification and traceability system passed a milestone earlier this week (May 1st) as swine producers in Saskatchewan became the first to begin using new slap tattoo numbers issued as part of a new national swine traceability and identification system. Producers in Alberta and Manitoba are scheduled to follow suit June 1st.

Several livestock commodity groups are cooperating under the direction of the Canadian Livestock Identification Agency (CLIA) to develop an integrated national system for identifying and tracking the movement of farm animals. Although each commodity group is developing its own individual process to accommodate its own specific needs, the effort is being coordinated nationally to help ensure a measure of consistency from species to species.

Pork Industry Targets 2008 for Full Traceability

The Canadian pork industry is targeting 2008 as the date by which it intends to have full identification and traceability.

The structure being created will consist of four main elements, which are being phased in over time. They include: registering and issuing premises identification numbers to every swine operation in Canada, the implementation of a new national slap-tattoo numbering structure for market hogs, the creation of a western slaughter database to track animals from the farm to the slaughter plant, and the creation of a movement reporting system to track animals from farm to farm.

Premises Registration Nears Completion in Saskatchewan

Almost all swine production premises in Saskatchewan have now been registered and each has been issued new slap tattoo numbers.

“The reason we had to do a national tattoo registry was to make the tattoo number a unique number,” states Saskatchewan Pork Development Board policy analyst Mark Ferguson.

Ferguson notes, “Right now there’s a lot of duplication across the country in terms of tattoo numbers. To use that as a building block in a national traceability system, it had to be a unique number and that number had to be linked back to a specific farm, not just a producer or a company but that actual land location. Now the tattoo is linked to a land location, they are a unique number and that really sets the stage for the entire traceability system.”

Manitoba and Alberta Target June 1st Switch

Although the new numbers officially went into use in Saskatchewan May 1st some producers reportedly made the switch early. The final day for using the old numbers is May 15th. Meanwhile Alberta Pork and Manitoba Pork Council have both set June 1st as their target for making the switch from the old to the new numbers.

Manitoba Pork Council plans to distribute similar information packages, including new numbers, to its producers late next week or early the following week. Emergency management specialist Jeff Clark says, “The packages that’ll be going out in Manitoba haven’t been finalized yet as to what is going to be in there.”

He says, “I would like to provide them with an ID card, a plastic reference card for their new tattoo numbers, the date that it’s been issued and their new premises ID number from the national premises allocator.”

He notes, “[The information package will] also provide them some background information on why we’re doing this and some of the dates that are involved and some of the new requirements that are involved – such as tattoos have to be applied to hogs on farm, not when they’re coming off the truck at the slaughtering facility.”

“It’s similar across the west,” he adds. “We are interested in the plot of land, the barn, because that will be central to traceability, to tracking disease movement. Market (“slap”) tattoo numbers will be assigned specific to each premises.”

He says, “[The premises registration 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.”

“What we’ve done,” explains 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’re assuming we’ll be somewhere in the range of 1,300 to 1,500 premises,” he adds. “We have cases where one producer will have multiple sites.”

Saskatchewan Pork Development Board Unveils New Trucker Manifest

With premise registration and the allocation of new tattoo numbers now well underway, the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board has also introduced a new truckers manifest designed specifically for anyone who moves pigs along public roadways in Saskatchewan. The single page for copy form was developed in consultation with farmers, marketers, transporters, packers and government.

“We’re trying to cut down on the number of different pieces of paper that transporters, particularly the commercial truckers, have to have,” says Saskatchewan Pork Development Board producers services manager Harvey Wagner. “In the past they had to fill out up to three or four different forms and manifests. We’re trying to bring it down as much as possible so they don’t have a bunch of duplication. If they have this one piece of paper they have pretty much all of the information that they need for a movement of hogs.”

Wagner notes, “What all it contains is the actual owner of the pigs, room to identify the producer numbers, the food safety or CQA number, the type of hogs that are on the load, their tattoo numbers, their identification, possibly the tag numbers if they want to do that. It also says where they came from, the originating barn, the actual premise where they came from, who’s the transporter, the actual trucker, who’s the driver, the driver’s information, license plate numbers and truck numbers. And then where they’re consigned to, or who’s the receiving premise whether it’s a farm, an assembly yard or a packing plant.”

He explains, “The idea of that is so that it is going to be satisfying the full traceability as we move to full traceability from farm to packing plant but also farm to farm so that we have a document that gives enough information to provide a complete trail of movement for all hogs.”

Forms to be Made Widely Available

The forms are starting to make their way into the field now and will be available through the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, through the SPI assembly yards and through most of the packers. Although this particular document will be specific to Saskatchewan, it’s expected other jurisdictions will develop similar documents.

Western Slaughter Database Now Under Development

The next step in the process, the creation of a western slaughter database, is also now well underway. The western slaughter database will be used to compile and store information collected at packing plants in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Ferguson explains, “In western Canada we don’t really have an organized marketing system like in the east, in Ontario and Quebec, where they still have monopoly marketing boards. The western slaughter database is all about getting ourselves organized so we kind of have a central repository to know what hogs are going to what processor and then using this information in the event of a foreign animal disease.”

He notes, “The software to maintain the western slaughter database is now being developed.” He concludes, “We’re trying to develop it along the guidelines of the Canadian Pork Council’s national traceability system so that it will integrate very smoothly into it.”

Staff Farmscape.Ca
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