The Land NSWFA View Opposition to tags clear

The Land Newspaper
NSW Farmers View
12 December 2013

Ed Storey - Chairman Wool Committee

NSW Farmers is strongly opposed to mandatory individual  electronic tagging for sheep and goats and, in a strong submission, has made it clear that without  clear benefits  to biosecurity traceability,  saddling the industry  with millions of dollars  worth of costs is unacceptable.

Our submission was in response to the recent public  consultation on the National Livestock  Identification System (NUS) for sheep and goats which analysed the options  to ensure the industry  meets national traceability standards.

Thank you to the 515 producers across the State who completed our survey on this topic.

This extensive and direct engagement  with the views of our sheepmeat, goat and wool grower members  has demonstrated beyond doubt that farmers do not want and will not accept  this change.

It has been estimated  a move to electronic  identification (EID) would result in upwards of $35 million in additional costs to producers, $3.5 million for abattoirs and more than $100,000 for large saleyards.

The cost of tags, which are about $1.30 each, is unacceptable when compared with the individual value of sheep and goats.

Not only will this change be expensive, it is also unnecessary.

Exercise Tuckerbox, conducted by the NSW Department  of Primary Industries, has clearly shown the current mob-based system for sheep and goats meets national traceability standards.

NSW Farmers supports  the voluntary use of EIDs by producers for management purposes, but we believe the market is the best method for determining  uptake.

However, it is clear from our survey only a minority  of producers currently use EIDs.

As long as all sheep and goats (where required) are tagged and accompanied by the appropriate national vendor declaration (NVD) forms, then biosecurity traceability requirements will be met and there is no need for the system to change.

We were pleased to see our survey results demonstrate the majority  of producers are supportive of the compliance activities in NSW.

We are very pleased Primary Industries  Minister  Katrina Hodgkinson has indicated her opposition to mandatory electronic tagging and has suggested she will lobby  her ministerial  counterparts in other States to ensure the system stays as it is.

As your representatives, we will be utilising  all available opportunities to ensure this costly  EID program  is not introduced.

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