Producers have been reminded to ensure their livestock are correctly tagged and their National Vendor Declaration forms are accurate following a case heard last week in Victoria.
Maffra livestock producer, Michael Daly, moved 91 heifers from his property in May 2019, to a preexport quarantine property in Romsey, to be exported, the Sale Magistrates’ Court was told last Tuesday, 24 August.
Mr Daly signed a National Vendor Declaration (NVD) form declaring that he had owned all cattle since their birth.
In a statement summarising the court proceedings which it released today, Agriculture Victoria said its authorised officers attended the pre-export quarantine property in late May 2019 and identified Mr Daly’s heifers had earmarks that indicated they had not been born and bred on his property.
This was despite having white breeder tags which displayed Mr Daly’s property identification code.
“As a result of the department’s early response and intervention, the consignment was removed from export,” the Department said.
“This was a complex investigation with authorised officers from Agriculture Victoria travelling to New South Wales to confirm the actual origin of the cattle through both their distinctive earmarks and DNA analysis which matched them to bulls on properties in Cooma.”
Agriculture Victoria Animal Health and Welfare Compliance Manager Daniel Bode said Victoria’s regulatory and assurance systems underpin high standards for Victorian agricultural exports and our industry’s reputation for safe, quality produce.
“To maintain this status, it’s critical that stock movements are accurately recorded,” Mr Bode said.
“Whole of lifetime traceability, through the NLIS, is critical to meeting trade expectations, and supporting our global reputation for high-quality food and means we can respond quickly to major food safety or disease incidents.”
The NLIS system uses an electronic ear tag or device, marking each animal with its own, individual identification number.
Mr Bode said it’s vital the right NLIS tag is used, otherwise the correct breeding and life history of an animal will not be recorded.
“All livestock movements must be accompanied by the appropriate documentation and meet the necessary NLIS requirements for monitoring and traceability.”
While the Magistrate accepted that Mr Daly’s early guilty plea and lack of prior convictions were relevant mitigating factors, he emphasised the behaviour was unacceptable to industry and the community.
“As a general deterrence, because of the seriousness of the offending and the significant risk these offences could cause the industry, Mr Daly was released on a two-year undertaking to be of good behaviour, and also ordered to pay costs of $135.82,” the Agriculture Victoria statement said.
Source: Agriculture Victoria. For more information on NLIS please visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/livestock-and-animals/nationallivestock-identification-system