The ability to identify where livestock are kept and where they have been is called traceability. It allows Agriculture Victoria (Department of Agriculture) to protect your animals against disease and others to return stray or stolen animals.
It also allows animal movements to be traced from one property to another and from paddock to plate. Livestock traceability is based on three elements:
- Identify properties with livestock. Property Identification Code (PIC)
- Identify individual animals. National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) approved ear tags
- Track animal movements. Records all movement of animals in the NLIS database
1. Property identification
Get a Property Identification Code (PIC)
All properties with livestock require a PIC, a Property Identification Code. It enables you to be contacted in an emergency or if stock have escaped from your property. It is a requirement under Victorian law but it is simple to do and free.
Apply for your free PIC from Agriculture Victoria here or call 1800 678 779.
2. National Livestock Identification System (NLIS)
Set up a National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) account
The NLIS is the Australian system for recording sheep, cattle and goats movements. Once you have an NLIS account you can register your PIC on the system and be set up to purchase livestock.
Set up your free NLIS account here or call 1800 683 111.
Use NLIS approved ear tags
In Victoria all cattle, sheep and goats must have an NLIS approved electronic ear tag.
If an animal is born on your property, you are responsible for tagging and recording the animal on the database.
Purchase approved tags from Agriculture Victoria here or call 1800 678 779.
3. Animal movements
In Victoria, if a new animal comes onto your property you must register its tag details on the NLIS database within 48 hours. You can arrange a third party, such as an agent, to do this on your behalf.
Become part of the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program
To legitimately sell stock you must be accredited with the Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program. This quality assurance program ensures the integrity and safety of Australian livestock and produce. It also gives you access to National Vendor Declarations.
- For more information about the LPA program and the accreditation process visit the MLA website.
- Register for LPA through Meat & Livestock Australia here or for help call 1800 683 111.
Use National Vendor Declarations (NVDs)
All livestock sold in Victoria must be accompanied by an LPA NVD, whether it’s one animal being sold or 1000. NVDs include information about an animal’s history and food safety status. You can access NVDs once you are accredited with the LPA program.
NVDs are available through Meat and Livestock Australia. Electronic NVDs are free here or hard copies can be purchased by calling 1800 683 111.
Use an Animal Health Declaration
An Animal Health Declaration (AHD) is a form with information about animals being purchased, such as their health status, past treatments and vaccinations. Buyers should request an AHD whenever they buy stock. Animal Health Declarations are mandatory for some movements between states.
There are free animal health declarations for cattle, sheep or goats at the Farm Biosecurity website.