Tracing systems for farm animals

The ability to track and monitor animals helps control disease and protects consumers.

Effective systems for tracing farm animals through every stage of the supply chain are essential for disease control, adequate standards of food safety and consumer protection.

BVA position

The ability to trace animals quickly and accurately is essential for effective disease control and for food safety and consumer protection purposes. The British Veterinary Association fully supports the identification of all farm animals and the recording of all movements as an aid to endemic and exotic disease control, the prevention of unsafe food entering the human food chain and the improvement of animal health through the exchange of information in the production chain.

The detailed design and implementation of animal identification and tracing systems is for government and industry. Such systems must be cost-effective, taking account of the cost to the farmer relative to the value of the animal and the benefits resulting from their application. They must also be tailored to the type of animal, production methods and movement patterns for each species to achieve effective traceability, and may be applied at the individual animal or batch level.

Electronic methods of identification that improve accuracy and reduce animal handling, together with electronic capture of movement information and the use of accurate central national databases, should be encouraged.

The BVA is always ready to provide advice on the practical and potential welfare problems associated with compulsory individual identification.

Further information

Defra