The province has announced it is moving forward with the anticipated Livestock Premises Identification Program. All livestock and poultry operations will have to submit their emergency information.

    Agriculture Minister Stan Struthers explains premise ID information will be used to track the location of animals in cases of disease outbreaks, or in emergencies related to public health.

    "We've seen this coming for a long time and it's part of a larger effort to move toward animal traceability," says Jeff Clark, who serves as the information programs manager with the Manitoba Pork Council and manager of the Canadian Pork Council's PigTrace initiative.

    Clark explains commodity groups representing livestock and poultry producers will help Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives collect the emergency information, such as land location, operation type and capacity. "And that's critical for if there was a foreign animal disease outbreak that's not just species specific. For example, foot and mouth disease affects all cloven hoof animals so it's important to know, not just where all pigs are, but where all livestock operations are."

    He notes premise ID is part of the move to a national traceability program, which involves industry, as well as the federal and provincial governments. "Because land registration is a provincial jurisdiction, industry and the federal government need the provinces to do premise identification," he explains.

    Ottawa is hoping to have a national traceability system come into effect in 2011. "We're at varying stages across Canada, but the vision is the same, which is to assign a unique premises ID number to each livestock operation. Those premises ID numbers are what we require to do farm-to-farm movement reporting, so we know when movements have occurred and between which sites they've occurred."

    Struthers announced $400 thousand to get the program up and running. MAFRI's emergency operation centre will be located in the agriculture complex at the University of Manitoba.

~ Friday, October 1, 2010 ~