Don’t worry about getting your head around the regulations on the upcoming Nait scheme just yet – you have a few more months before it goes live.
Nait – the National Animal Identification and Tracing scheme – is concerned with the fitting of stock with Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) ear tags, to track the animal’s movements from life to death.
Initially, the scheme for cattle was set to hit New Zealand on November 1 this year provided the Nait Bill was passed in Parliament. However, Parliament has a large number of bills to consider over the next few months and it is now unlikely that the legislation will be passed before the general election, says a press release from Nait Limited and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. It is now expected to go live in mid-late 2012.
Nait CEO Russell Burnard said the extended release date will allow time to test and refine the IT system which will support the scheme.
“New Zealand requires animal identification and traceability to better manage livestock diseases and our growing demands for assurances of the history of our livestock and animal products.”
Lifestyle block owners have the same obligation as large-scale farmers to have their cattle tagged, even if the animal’s intended resting place is the family freezer rather than a supermarket shelf.
The benefits of NAIT include security for the beef export industry and traceability in the case of a bio emergency such as a foot-and-mouth outbreak, as it will mean affected beef can be traced back to its source. Animals are assigned 16-digit numbers which are read by electronic scanners, used by saleyard and slaughterhouse employees, among others.
Nait will be mandatory in 2012, and farmers are encouraged to tag new born cattle with the ear tags, which are available from rural supply shops.