29 July 2022, NZ: The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is reminding farmers that stock transport companies are checking their cattle and deer are tagged and registered under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme.
Under the NAIT scheme all cattle or deer must be fitted with a NAIT tag and registered in the NAIT system by the time the animal is 180 days old, or before the animal is moved off farm.
MPI’s national manager of animal welfare and NAIT compliance Gray Harrison says transporting an untagged animal is an offence and transporters could be liable unless the truck driver has a declaration from the supplier stating the animals are tagged and registered.
“Under recently changed rules, livestock transporters can request a declaration as an alternative to physically checking for tags. This recognises that checking individual cattle for NAIT tags early in the morning when it is dark, ahead of a busy schedule of other stops, is easier said than done.”
Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand, which represents about 1,200 road transport companies that operate about 14,000 heavy trucks, has put its support behind MPI to ensure NAIT compliance.
“We’ve encouraged all livestock transport operators to ensure they carry, or have access to, a completed NAIT Declaration to Livestock Transporter form when transporting cattle or deer in New Zealand,” says Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand general manager industry Dom Kalasih.
NAIT Declaration to Livestock Transporter
Mr Harrison says current compliance with tagging and registering of NAIT animals sits at around 93%.
“We’re working in whatever way we can to continue to drive that figure up and we appreciate the support of the trucking industry to achieve that.
“Truck drivers have a lot of interaction with farmers so it’s great they’re helping to carry this important message. The simple act of asking for a declaration gives people in charge of animals a good reminder of their legal requirement to ensure all NAIT animals are tagged and registered before they come on the truck.
“The NAIT scheme is a critical part of New Zealand’s ability to respond quickly to biosecurity threats. We take non-compliance seriously because of the potentially devastating effect these threats can have on industry and communities if we were unable to track and trace animals.”
Penalties in the NAIT Act recently increased tenfold to $100,000 for an individual, and up to $200,000 for a body corporate. Mr Harrison says while incurring one of these penalties could hurt the bottom line for individuals, the inability to trace animals can have far reaching and serious consequences for everyone.
“The NAIT tag and registration system is only as effective as the information entered in. If you are unsure about what you need to do, reach out. There is plenty of information, advice and support available,” says Mr Harrison.