JIS News

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  • The Government is estimating that it will take one year to tag all 70,000 cattle under its national animal identification and traceability system.
  • The tagging will be done in what is called a “sweep fashion”, parish by parish.
  • The Minister noted that the passport will contain critical information about the animal and will be mandatory for movement of the animal.

The Government is estimating that it will take one year to tag all 70,000 cattle under its national animal identification and traceability system.

This was disclosed by Senior Veterinary Officer in the Veterinary Division at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dr. Candice Phipps, at a post budget media briefing, held at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens office on April 24.

Dr. Phipps noted that the tagging will be done in what is called a “sweep fashion”, parish by parish.

“We will use our personnel and hopefully, with the help of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), we will be able to do this and move along until we get the whole process complete,” she said.

“We want to have 100 per cent compliance and the first tagging will be completely funded by the Government, so the farmers will not be asked to pay for the tagging. But in subsequent years, there will have to be some kind of cost recovery system and that will be developed as we go along,” Dr. Phipps added.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, announced on April 23 in the House that as part of measures to tackle praedial larceny, a national animal identification and traceability system, which entails tagging cattle, is to be rolled out by the second quarter of this financial year.

He explained that under this programme, every single head of cattle will be tagged and virtually issued a passport.

The Minister noted that the passport will contain critical information about the animal and will be mandatory for movement of the animal, while adding that the tags are currently being procured.

Meanwhile, Dr. Phipps outlined the benefits of having a national animal identification and traceability system, pointing out that the Government will be able to trace the animals from farm to slaughter house.

The Senior Veterinary Officer said the measures will be supported by legislation, such as the Animal (Diseases and Importation) Act, as tagging will be mandatory for all cattle owners.

“It will not be if you feel like it. It won’t work if all the animals are not tagged. By law all animals must be tagged by eight months or before leaving the farm. As long as you have that identification number, you can know exactly where that animal is, who the owner is and if it’s not there, it’s a violation, because all of this has to be reported to the Animal Identification and Traceability Unit, which has been established in the Veterinary Services Division,” Dr. Phipps said.

She noted that different user groups, such as the Police, will have access to the database where the necessary information on the cattle is stored.

Meanwhile, Mr. Clarke said the Ministry conducted consultations with the various stakeholders, before the announcement of the new initiative.

“The fact is that where praedial larceny has reached now, there is a virtual outcry from almost everyone. The Commissioner of Police has indicated that in this new thrust, he is putting in place a special unit to deal with praedial larceny,” he noted.

Also, a praedial larceny unit is to be set up within the Ministry, with the necessary job descriptions formulated and dispatched to the Cabinet Office, so that these posts can be established and filled quickly.