PigTrace to be Mandatory Nationwide Next Summer

Canada's hog producer group and the federal government are reported to have agreed on July 1, 2014 as the launch date for a mandatory nationwide traceability system for hogs.

The launch date "sets a reasonable timeframe to allow the (Canadian Pork Council) and its provincial member organizations to continue to grow the program," the Manitoba Pork Council said in a producer newsletter Friday.

The national PigTrace program, which is to apply to "everyone who produces, assembles, slaughters and/or transports pigs," was previously expected to take effect in January 2014.

Federal regulation of PigTrace Canada will be "an important step towards building an effective program that responds to disease outbreaks and food safety emergencies," the provincial council said.

PigTrace "aims to provide animal health and food safety officials with the best possible information regarding pig identification and movement between locations," the council said. "For that to happen, the program needs the entire Canadian pork industry to participate."

The program now involves a Unique Animal Identification (UAI) tag, displaying an official traceability number unique to every pig.

However, according to a July notice from the Manitoba council, PigTrace this month is expected to begin selling a new tag that also displays a farm's five-digit slap tattoo number -- the "Herd Mark" -- on all animals.

Movements of some animals, such as cull sows, are expected to be simpler with the Herd Mark tag than the UAI tag, the Manitoba council said -- but some types of pig movements will still require the use of the UAI tag by law, such as movements of bred animals from one farm premises to another farm premises, or movements to fairgrounds and exhibitions.

Source: Canadiancattlemen.ca