Following a review, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) last year launched consultation on amendments to NAIT including tagging and improving access to NAIT data.
The proposals, which were developed in the wake of the Mycoplasma bovis response, include tightening up the rules around untagged animals, and aligning penalties and infringement fees with those in the Biosecurity and Animal Products acts.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is fully supportive of NAIT for managing food safety and biosecurity risks and supporting market assurances and customer requirements. The value of NAIT is underscored by learnings we see first-hand from the M. bovis response.
As shareholders in OSPRI, along with DairyNZ and DINZ, we're strongly motivated to see farmers get value for levies invested and committed to making improvements necessary for NAIT to realise its potential.
B+LNZ is broadly supportive of the proposals in the NAIT Bill, together with the many other activities to improve the traceability system that have already occurred or are underway within OSPRI.
However, we are very concerned by the proposed removal of the unsafe to tag exemption, which currently permits farmers to send cattle that have lost their tags direct to meat processors.
We agree that the exemption should be tightened to apply only to animals that would pose a risk to the farmer if re-tagged, but oppose the withdrawal of this exemption in five years’ time, because we fear that someone will become seriously injured in the future.
B+LNZ does not support mandatory ear-tagging of sheep, however we want to explore bringing about electronic traceability for movements of mobs of sheep because this information would be essential for controlling any future incursion of an exotic disease. We will be consulting sheep farmers on this in the coming months.
At this stage, the consultation will seek feedback on:
- Requiring annual registration of all locations where sheep are present with NAIT.
- Requiring annual estimates of stock numbers of sheep present on NAIT locations to be supplied to NAIT.
- Requiring all movements of mobs of sheep between locations to be recorded electronically in the NAIT database within 48 hours.
- For movements of mobs of sheep, requiring all information currently expected to be provided on Animal Status Declarations (ASDs) to be supplied to NAIT at the time of recording the movement between locations.
In time, we envisage this becoming an alternative to the current obligation to complete a paper ASD.
We also told the Primary Production Select Committee that we do not agree that the Crown owns NAIT data, which we contend is owned by farmers.
Finally, we are opposed to the proposal to make it an offence to transport untagged animals unless the details of the proposals are changed to ensure transport operators do not become forced to audit farmer compliance with NAIT.
We will keep farmers informed of any developments.