December 5, 2003
Dec. 5, 2003 -- The Canadian national sheep identification program becomes effective Jan. 1, 2004. The program requires that all sheep and lambs leaving the farm have an official tag.
The purpose of the mandatory tagging is to provide information that can be used in the case of a serious animal-health disease outbreak or food-safety crisis. Every sheep must be identified with an official hot-pink tag before leaving its herd of origin or co-mingling with sheep from other flocks. The producer of the herd of origin is responsible for buying the official tag, applying it to the animal and maintaining the records.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations for sheep are similar to those of the cattle identification program. Vice-chair of the sheep and wool commission, Laurence Read, commented, ?There is opposition, but I don?t think we have a choice.?
The only exception to the identification rule is if sheep are being shipped directly to a federally or provincially registered abattoir for immediate slaughter.
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, (304) 647-9981