Goat producers urged to provide input into a new national traceability program

Some dairy goat producers want leg bands instead of ear tags and there are 
different methods for reporting and recording of animal movement, and retiring tags

Atraceability program for goats is coming, and now is the time for producers to give their input on how the system should operate, says the general manager of the Canadian National Goat Federation.

“Traceability and animal identification are almost non-negotiable right now,” Jennifer MacTavish said at the recent Alberta Goat Breeders Association conference.

“Our role is to get a traceability and an animal identification program that will work for the goat industry.”

The sector is one of the last groups to get a traceability system, and the current voluntary tag program operated by the federation will eventually become mandatory, said MacTavish. The federation is working with Ketchum Manufacturing to test three different types of tags. All three types come with a tag assessment form, she noted.

“Now is your chance to get yourself heard and give feedback to us,” MacTavish said. “I really encourage you to start tagging your goats.”

Traceability ensures animals can be accounted for in case of an emergency, including fire, a natural disaster, or an animal disease outbreak.

“If the processing plant needs to do a recall or there’s another issue and we need to know where animals are, it will benefit the chain,” she said.

Traceability will boost consumer confidence in the goat sector, and other livestock groups have used animal identification and record-keeping to improve management decisions and herd productivity, she said.

But there are different ways to create a system, she added. For example, some dairy goat producers would like leg bands instead of ear tags to identify their animals and the federation is currently evaluating this option. This sort of feedback is critical as the federal government will soon be drafting traceability regulations for the goat industry, she said.

“We’re going to need producers to comment on these regulations so we can build a traceability program that works for you,” MacTavish said. “We really need you around the table, we need your input and we need to know what’s going to work on the farm for you so that we can do our jobs better.”

Other issues that need to be considered are the reporting and recording of animal movement, and how tags are retired when an animal dies.

Goat producers who want more information or who want to join the voluntary tag program can find more information at www.cangoats.com.

About the author

Reporter

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for the Glacier FarmMedia publication, the Alberta Farmer Express, since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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