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Tracing Canada's livestock

July 28, 2017

The Canadian government is considering changes to the Health of Animals Regulations that will require all farmers with livestock to have a premises identification number (PID). A PID is a unique national number assigned to a piece of land by a provincial or territorial government. Under the proposed amendments, anyone who sends or receives livestock will need a PID—including producers, auction marts, assembly yards, abattoirs and deadstock collectors.

How it works

PIDs make it possible to trace an animal's movements from one point to another throughout the supply chain, making it easier in turn to control the spread of disease and minimize any impact on the industry. The proposed amendments are expected to strengthen Canada's ability to respond quickly to health threats and other emergencies.

“As farmers, we use traceability as a farm management tool. It helps us manage our animals better and bring more value to the market,” said Pascal Lemire, a Québec dairy farmer. “Traceability is key to the future of Canadian agriculture.”

But not every Canadian livestock operator has a PID number yet. Although all jurisdictions can issue PIDs, only Québec, Alberta, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan have laws requiring them.

A free safety net

Livestock PIDs are free to Canadian farmers looking to protect their livestock should a safety issue occur, such as a flood, fire or disease outbreak.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is encouraging producers and stakeholders across the supply chain to raise this issue with their peers and register as soon as possible.

Getting involved now will help stakeholders be compliant by the time the proposed amendments are compulsory, and will prevent a surge of requests from premises yet to be identified.

Canada's reputation for producing safe and healthy food is world-class. A robust traceability system will help uphold this reputation at home and around the world.

Please visit our Premises Identification page to learn more about premises identification and how to participate.

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