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Traceability Training

For animal identification the ability to identify and individual and/or group identification is important in delivering full traceability. Under the Animal Health Act all reportable livestock need to be identified. Most animal identification requirements are administered nationally. Alberta does not wish to duplicate efforts and accepts national provisions in accordance with respective industry systems. A comprehensive list and links are provided at the bottom of this page.

For cattle: Under the Traceability Livestock Identification regulation, owners of cattle born on or after January 1, 2009 must tag all calves with a CCIA approved tag and report the birth date into the Canadian Livestock Tracking System prior to the animal leaving the birth farm or within 10 months, which ever comes first. The Traceability Cattle Identification regulation also requires that feedlot owners feeding 1,000 head or more annually must record and report the following cattle movement information:

Age-verification and move-in records must be kept for 10 years.

Best Practices for RFID Ear Tag Application

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/ba3468a2a8681f69872569d60073fde1/9f4862c66a72b871872576640074b194/Information/0.1E6A!OpenElement&FieldElemFormat=gifNow that all of the work of applying the tag and registering the birth date of the animal has been done, best practices to optimize tag retention and position ear tags so they can easily be read electronically are important for the following reasons:

  • Reducing the number of animals that require re-tagging keeps costs down and information current.

  • Correct tag placement supports efficient electronic tag reading or scanning as animals move by panel readers set up along alleyways or chutes in operations like auction markets and feedlots. This can also be achieved by using handheld readers in chutes and squeezes. More information and tips – [Agdex 420/26-1]


Why are RFID tags and age-verification important?

The use of CCIA-approved RFID tags allows for a rapid and reliable method of tracking livestock from farm of origin to slaughter without slowing the speed of commerce. CCIA has been working with producers and industry to establish quality assurance procedures and processes around the use of this technology and supporting equipment.

For more information on CCIA efforts, click here: http://www.canadaid.com/about_us/tags_tech.html and http://www.canadaid.com/about_us/documents/Paul_Laronde_Final.pdf
For a copy of CCIA’s tag related complaint form, click here: http://www.canadaid.com/documents/CCIA_Complaint%20_inhouseprint10-09.pdf

Why do I have to age-verify my calves?

Age-verification is important for individual animal identification by enhancing the integrity Alberta’s traceability system as follows:

Improved Disease Surveillance and Response

  • Some diseases are more likely to occur in certain age groups of cattle. Knowing the age helps the disease investigation by efficiently and effectively identifying “at risk” animals.
  • Having accurate age information may help reduce the size of a cull required to control a disease from spreading or entering the food production chain.
  • The Canada/Alberta BSE surveillance program requires AV’d cattle between 30 and 107 months of age to meet International monitoring expectations.

More Efficient Handling of Specified Risk Materials

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) permits are required to handle and transport specified risk material (SRM) off farm. Age-verification is critical in assuring requirements are met in an efficient and cost effective manner.

Food Safety Assurance

  • Specific food safety protocols are linked to cattle at the time of slaughter. Individual animal identification and AV provides a method of assurance as each animal enters the food production chain.

Improved Data Integrity

  • Registering the birth date of each calf by 10 months of age, links a specific CCIA-approved RFID tag number to an individual animal, enhancing the quality and the integrity of the information in the CLTS.

International Marketing Initiatives

  • Increasingly, our global trading partners are requiring age-verified cattle as a requirement for access or re-access to markets, for example, products from animals destined for the Japanese market must be no older than 21 months of age. Dentition will not work on these young cattle, making the information in captured in the CLTS a reliable means to determine age.
  • In 2009, six markets for Canadian beef opened or were expanded. Export markets have a positive effect on cut-out values. CanFax determined that every $1 increase in the cut-out value positively increases the price paid for fed cattle by .67 cents. More markets are good for live animal prices.

National Animal Livestock Identification Organizations:

Sheep: Canadian Sheep Federation

Goats: Alberta Goat Breeders Association

Hogs: Canadian Pork Council

Horses: Equine Canada

Cervids: Domestic Cervid Industry: Directives and Procedures Manual

Bison: Canadian Bison Association

Poultry: Alberta Chicken Producers, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers

Alpaca: Alpaca Canada

Llama: Canada's National Llama Association

Ostrich: Canadian Ostrich Association