CCIA says tag change to improve accuracy

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Changes in how animal identification tags are distributed have irked some retailers, but the vice-chair of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency says something had to be done to prevent errors.

Mark Elford said an audit found more than 40,000 errors within the system.

“A lot of those errors came from tags that had been sold and never allocated to a producer’s account,” he told the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association’s annual general meeting.

“So the people that were selling the tags were not recording the information. There were cattle showing up at slaughter facilities and tags that were being retired that had never been allocated to producers’ accounts.”

CCIA is now the distributor of the tags.

Elford said retailers can still continue selling tags, but they have to make sure they keep proper records and they will be charged a fee to do so.

“It’s not selling a pair of pliers,” Elford said in stressing the importance of record keeping.

“This is a controlled product and the information is very important.”

He said foreign buyers could conduct audits of Canada’s identification system, and the kinds of errors the audit found indicated something had to change.

CCIA’s deal with CDMV, a long-time distribution company with warehouses across the country, means producers can go online or phone the CCIA and order tags directly from the organization.

The tags will be mailed or couriered to producers.

Elford said his neighbour tried out the system and received several hundred tags within four or five days. Each tag was also 50 cents cheaper.

He said he recently had to travel to retailers in three towns before he could find enough tags for the number of cattle he wanted to process.

Elford also said producers can still support their local retailers as long as the retailers are registered.

“There are some that are going to drop off, and there’s been some angst around that,” he said.

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