CFIA wants traceability gaps filled with better info on livestock movement

OTTAWA — Amendments to Canada’s livestock traceability regulations are expected later this year.

In the event of an animal disease outbreak, investigators need more information about animal movement, as well as the exact location of livestock beyond the owner’s name and address, said Elizabeth Corrigan of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Current gaps in the system are among the changes needed, she said at the recent Canadian Cattlemen’s Association annual meeting in Ottawa.

The Health of Animals regulation amendments are expected to be published in late 2017 with a 75 day comment period.

Mandatory animal identification, traceability and improved record keeping requirements on the movement of cattle, bison, sheep, goat, and cervid species are needed, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website.

Current information reveals where the animal was born and where it was slaughtered but often there is no data in between, said Corrigan.

“We have to address the gaps,” said Mark Elford, chair of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency.

Based in Calgary, the agency administers traceability data for cattle, bison and sheep.

The identification agency agrees more movement information is needed and this could be partly addressed with a national manifest. These travel documents are common in the West, but are not used in other provinces.

Additional information requirements are likely to increase the workload at the agency. It may encourage producers to tag their animals and apply for premise identification numbers.

“The regulations will bring a tremendous amount of change to CCIA in our workload and what will be expected of us,” said Anne Brunet-Burgess, manager of the agency.

No additional revenue is coming in. Funds are collected from the sale of tags but that amounts to a few cents per tag sold.

In many countries, government helps pay for the animal traceability system, said Elford.

Quebec has its own traceability system and handles identification as well as animal movement reports, which can be recorded on paper or by phone call.

The CCIA predicts its workload would increase tenfold with the new requirements.

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