Canadian Cattle Identification Program
Animal identification is a fundamental component of livestock traceability. The ability to identify animals and their origins during an animal health or food safety emergency is paramount to the success of the response operation and the protection of human and animal health.
The Canadian Cattle Identification Program (CCIP) is an industry-led trace-back system designed to help trace sources of animal health and food safety problems. It was introduced in 2001, and is applicable to all cattle and bison in Canada.
How does the program work?
In practical terms, all cattle and bison must be identified with an approved ear tag before leaving the farm of origin - the farm or ranch where the animal was born.
All cattle and bison that are imported must also be identified. An animal may be tagged before importation or upon arrival to its destination. Cattle imported for immediate slaughter do not need to be identified.
All tags are embedded with a unique identification number that is allocated by the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA), which collects and stores identification information for most provinces in its national database. The exception is the province of Quebec, where the cattle identification program is managed by Agri-Traçabilité Québec (ATQ). All identification numbers are distributed to cattle and bison producers through authorized tag dealers.
The unique identification number of each animal is maintained throughout its life, until the animal is slaughtered at an abattoir or exported.
Additional regulatory requirements include the following:
- All dairy cattle must be identified with two tags — a dangle tag and a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), both bearing the same identification number.
- The manufacturing, sale, and distribution of tags must be reported to the CCIA.
- Lost and damaged tags must be reported to the CCIA and replaced.
- Abattoirs, deadstock operators and rendering plants must report the identification number of slaughtered cattle and bison or the receipt of their carcasses.
- The import and export of cattle and bison must be reported to the CCIA.
Additional requirements for Quebec producers include the following:
- All movements of cattle must be reported, except if the distance travelled is less than 10 km and the ownership or custodianship of the animals has not changed.
- Similar to dairy cattle, all beef cattle must be identified with two tags - a dangle tag and a RFID, both bearing the same identification number.
The information stored in the CCIA and ATQ databases is made available to governments during an animal health or food safety emergency, helping them to trace-back the origins of implicated animals and animal products.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) enforces national identification and movement reporting requirements for cattle and bison under the authority of the Health of Animals Regulations. Violations of any of the requirements may result in warning letters, fines or, in some cases, prosecution.
For more information about the CCIP:
Canadian Cattle Identification Agency
Telephone: 1-877-909-2333, 403-275-2083
Telephone: 1-866-270-4319; 450-677-1757
Internet: http: www.agri-tracabilite.qc.ca
National Livestock Identification for Dairy
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