Deadline nears for RFID tags on cattle

By Gary Sliworsky
Ag rep, Emo

This is a reminder that as of Jan. 1, 2010, all cattle must be tagged with a CCIA-approved RFID tag.
When the national traceability system was first introduced in 2002, it used barcode tags due to the high cost of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to the producer.
As the cost of technology was reduced, and the cattle industry saw the impact and cost of the 2003 BSE scare, RFID tags became the necessary basis for full animal movement tracking in Canada’s livestock traceability system.
The benefits of RFID include automated tag readability through the ability to read at a distance without line of sight, increased data integrity, and future capabilities of full animal movement tracking.
In 2003, the national traceability system started the transition to RFID tagging to ensure Canada continued to be recognized as having an efficient and effective trace-back system.
RFID tags have been the only approved tags available to be issued for cattle since Sept. 1, 2006.
However, there was an allowance for a phase-out period for mature breeding stock and bulls in recognition that the already-purchased barcoded tags would be in use until the end of December, 2009.
The definition of “all cattle” now will include mature breeding stock and bulls that must be tagged before they leave the farm of origin, with the exception of cattle born in Alberta on or after Jan. 1, 2009, which must be tagged in accordance with the Alberta Animal Health Act.
Barcode tags already applied to an animal should be left in the animal’s ear, and an RFID tag also should be applied to that animal.
The barcode tag then must be cross-referenced with the new RFID tag in the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS).
This is required to ensure the integrity of the traceability system is maintained.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforces tagging requirements.
Failure to comply with tagging requirements could result in a monetary penalty under the Administrative Monetary Penalties legislation.

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