The New Zealand government has decided to move forward with a national electronic livestock identification system to track cattle activity.
The national project has proposed that animal tracking be done by all producers. This tracking will be mandatory for cattle that will be required to be tagged with NAIT-approved RFID tags starting July 2012. The program will officially start in February of 2012 which will give producers a four month time span by which they will have to tag all cattle. The same is forecasted to be done in 2013 for deer tracking.
The official date in July 2012 was set after Parliament received cross-party support for the tracking system. The tracking system was especially praised because it has the potential to reduce a threat if a disease outbreak were to occur. Exectives assured that overseas markets would be more likely to purchase local meat if such a system was put into place reducing threats of disease and serious outbreaks among the cattle. Not only would such a system help with disease outbreak but it can also aid farmers to improve farm management. In addition customers at retail shops would be able to get more information on the origins of beef from a retailer if the cattle is RFID tagged.
Within three years after July 1st of 2012, it is estimated that over 9.8 million cattle will have to be electronicaly tagged and registered online. NAIT Ltd., a company owned by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, will implement and administer this project.