A Bill to deliver electronic national identification and tracing of livestock passed its third and final reading in Parliament In February.
Primary Industries Minister David Carter says the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) Bill is a significant step in protecting farmers in the international marketplace and strengthening New Zealand’s biosecurity system.
The NAIT bill sets out the legal framework for the collection of information on livestock, their location and movement history throughout their lifetime. It also outlines the governance arrangement and powers for the NAIT organisation.
“NAIT needs to be mandatory to be effective,” the Minister says. It will begin with cattle on 1 July this year and deer by 1 March 2013.
“With most other agricultural producing nations already having computerised tracing of individual animals, New Zealand simply cannot afford to lag behind,” he said, adding that NAIT is essentially an insurance policy to support New Zealand’s high livestock health status and biosecurity infrastructure, but can also be used to further improve productivity and on-farm management.
The meat industry supports the introduction of NAIT as it will give greater assurance to customers of the wholesomeness of New Zealand meat products.