You will soon face penalties if you ship pigs without reporting it.
“There is a fine structure coming but there has not been a time confirmed yet,” said Jeff Clark, manager of PigTrace Canada, the national swine traceability program.
Federal regulations to report pig movements took effect in July of 2014, requiring all shippers and receivers to report animal movements within seven days.
Up until this point, enforcement has been limited to verbal warnings and non-compliance letters, but Clark said he expects to see changes before the end of the year.
“Right now we are estimating the fine structure to be put in place by the fall. Once we know for sure we will communicate that broadly.”
The value of data
The Canadian Pork Council initiated PigTrace before implementation of the federal regulations. The industry-led live animal traceability system is designed to ensure protection, prosperity and peace of mind for the industry and its customers.
Along with creating data on pig numbers across Canada, the system enables source verification and gives animal health and food safety officials tools to quickly and effectively contain and deal with disease outbreaks.
“Around 2001, the United Kingdom had outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, the Netherlands has a swine cholera outbreak and these had horrific repercussions,” Clark said. “Large numbers of animals had to be euthanized, solely because there was no information on where the disease came from. It took weeks, months and even years of investigation to try and establish a source.”
The detection of BSE in Canadian cattle in 2003 further engrained the need for animal traceability and since then the hog industry has been actively working towards reporting all animal movements.
“If we were to have an outbreak of something in Canada, geographically we are huge. How are we supposed to respond? If we don’t have this information, the disease will just continue to spread across the country,” Clark said.
“So, this initiative of tracking animal movements is something that has been accepted by the industry kind of like eating your greens. You don’t get super excited about it but you understand the value.”
What is required?
Federal regulations require that any time a pig is shipped, movement information must be reported from both the shipper and the receiver within seven days.
“The movement details we are looking for are the two locations involved, the date and time of departure and arrival, the vehicle licence plates and any animal identification numbers.”
Clark says all producers, no matter the size of the operation, are required to report animal movements.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a hobby farmer who buys one pig each year and grazes it to market weight for meat in your own freezer. Those people are required to participate as well.”
PigTrace has been designed to be as user friendly as possible to avoid increasing producer workloads.
“If it is cumbersome to participate, we get frustration, so being user friendly is always a top priority for us and we are constantly looking at ways to improve the program.”
There are no producer costs associated and reports can be made online, by telephone, email or fax.
Since the launch of PigTrace in 2014 there have been more than one million movement reports and 10,500 locations registered throughout the country.
“Participation rates are getting to the point where our statistics start to rival anything else we know through Statistics Canada or Agriculture Canada,” Clark said. “The participation in Manitoba has been very good. We get a regional breakdown and certainly locally we have done quite well with this program.”
For more information visit PigTrace.ca or call 1-866-300-1825.