Effective July 1st, 2002, all packing plants across Canada were required to record and report all Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) national identification ear tags coming through their doors. Beef Improvement Ontario (BIO), the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) through their meat inspectors and the Ontario Cattlemen's Association (OCA) have implemented a program to support National ID activities in Ontario. Since the program's inception, over 140 Ontario packing plants are regularly submitting data through BIO and the compliance rate has increased significantly.
OMAF's meat inspectors who are already required to be in the plants on slaughter days have been submitting the tag retirement information to BIO for the past three months. The tag data collected at BIO in the last month indicated that provincial compliance with the National ID Program was at 90%. Based on data collected at BIO, compliance from early last year was at 16% in January 2002. This increased substantially when the National ID program became mandatory in July 2002 to 58%. Since then, the numbers have been steadily increasing to reflect up to 90% compliance as seen in February of this year. In part, this is due to the increase in the number of cattle being tagged, but is also aided by the joint venture between BIO, OMAF and OCA assisting with tag number collection from the provincial plants.
Compliance is also being reflected in the number of tag numbers being retired from deadstock depots in the province. BIO is also involved in the retirement of tags for deadstock, and has retired over 15,000 tags that were in the system. A pilot project is being considered that would involve deadstock operators accumulating tags and delivering them to a central location to be scanned and retired through BIO to the CCIA database.
After attending the recent CCIA meeting held in Ottawa Tamara Fernandes, BIO's National ID Coordinator, commented: "It became very apparent that Ontario is unique in the collaborative approach used to retire National ID tags from packing plants and deadstock depots. Ontario has developed a system that works to retire National ID tag numbers within the CCIA system. Producers and packers in the province should be commended for their efforts in making the National ID Program a success in Ontario."
Beef Improvement Ontario is a non-profit organization providing profitable beef improvement solutions to breeders and feeders of beef cattle throughout Ontario.
For more information, please contact Nigel Henriques or Tamara Fernandes at 1-800-373-2253 or 519-767-2665 or visit BIO's website at www.biobeef.com