Earmarking and branding consultation

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Consultation on a proposal to make earmarking and branding for sheep and cattle optional in Western Australia has closed.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) thanks the wide range of Western Australian livestock owners, industry and community members who provided feedback on a proposal to make earmarking and branding of stock optional.

The proposal involves amending the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Identification and Movement of Stock and Apiaries) Regulations 2013 to remove the mandatory requirements for earmarking sheep and earmarking or branding cattle.

If the proposal is legislated, individual sheep and cattle owners will be able to choose whether to continue or to cease earmarking and branding their stock.

Background

Earmarking and branding of livestock was first used over 100 years ago in Western Australia as a permanent means of identification of ownership of sheep and cattle.

While this system, if applied correctly, is useful to visually identify the original owner of the animals, it is not able to identify subsequent owners nor to record movements through the supply chain.

Modern livestock supply chains require identification and traceability systems that can record multiple owners and record movements. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) provides this ability and underpins Australia’s biosecurity, market access and food safety.

As the NLIS provides an identification capability, the need for earmarking and branding has reduced, and most other Australian jurisdictions have removed mandatory earmarking and branding requirements.

Under this proposal, except for removing provisions for mandatory earmarking and branding, the NLIS regulations would not be changed other than to bring the timing for cattle NLIS identification in line with sheep NLIS tagging.

Consultation process

Consultation on the proposal opened on 17 November and closed on 22 December 2020.

Before making a submission, stakeholders were asked to read the consultation paper and frequently asked questions. Stakeholders were able to gain further information via the Questions function below before making a submission using the online submission form.

Next steps

DPIRD will now assess the feedback, amend the proposal where appropriate and communicate the outcome to stakeholders in early 2021. Updates will also be published on this page.

Consultation on a proposal to make earmarking and branding for sheep and cattle optional in Western Australia has closed.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) thanks the wide range of Western Australian livestock owners, industry and community members who provided feedback on a proposal to make earmarking and branding of stock optional.

The proposal involves amending the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Identification and Movement of Stock and Apiaries) Regulations 2013 to remove the mandatory requirements for earmarking sheep and earmarking or branding cattle.

If the proposal is legislated, individual sheep and cattle owners will be able to choose whether to continue or to cease earmarking and branding their stock.

Background

Earmarking and branding of livestock was first used over 100 years ago in Western Australia as a permanent means of identification of ownership of sheep and cattle.

While this system, if applied correctly, is useful to visually identify the original owner of the animals, it is not able to identify subsequent owners nor to record movements through the supply chain.

Modern livestock supply chains require identification and traceability systems that can record multiple owners and record movements. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) provides this ability and underpins Australia’s biosecurity, market access and food safety.

As the NLIS provides an identification capability, the need for earmarking and branding has reduced, and most other Australian jurisdictions have removed mandatory earmarking and branding requirements.

Under this proposal, except for removing provisions for mandatory earmarking and branding, the NLIS regulations would not be changed other than to bring the timing for cattle NLIS identification in line with sheep NLIS tagging.

Consultation process

Consultation on the proposal opened on 17 November and closed on 22 December 2020.

Before making a submission, stakeholders were asked to read the consultation paper and frequently asked questions. Stakeholders were able to gain further information via the Questions function below before making a submission using the online submission form.

Next steps

DPIRD will now assess the feedback, amend the proposal where appropriate and communicate the outcome to stakeholders in early 2021. Updates will also be published on this page.