Nait: barriers and opportunities for New Zealand sheep farmers
New Zealand's agricultural sector is critically important to New Zealand's economic future. For Primary Sector and Economic Growth we must give assurances to our trading partners that New Zealand protein products are safe, healthy and disease free. To do so, Industry along with Government support have formulated an Animal Identification and Tracing System that will bring New Zealand into line with other exporting countries. NZ's National Animal Identification and Tracing System (NAIT) has been formulated over the period 2004 - 2011. The NAIT system will link people, property and animals. NAIT legislation is currently before parliament with the expected passing of the Bill set down for early 2012. NAIT becomes mandatory for cattle in July 2012 and deer in March 2013. The NAIT Bill allows for the inclusion of other species at a later date. Much of the apprehension surrounding NAIT for sheep farmers, exists not so much in the concept but in the lack of detail. This is not surprising given that NAIT ltd has not released any detail to-date, let alone even considered sheep inclusion. New Zealand's sheep sector is unique: • Animal populations are significantly larger than any other species • Progeny for slaughter is on-farm for shorter periods than other species These unique characteristics expose barriers that would make the implementation of a NAIT system, the same as that for cattle and deer, awkward and costly to implement. Modifications to NAITs present system would alleviate many of these barriers. Opportunities would exist if a NAIT system for sheep was implemented. Some opportunities could be realised immediately, however opportunities for market access and disease out-break management may not actually be realised until we (god forbid) actually have a food safety issue or an exotic disease out-break. NAIT may well be the insurance needed to guarantee the continuing viability of sheep farming in New Zealand.... [Show full abstract]
KeywordsNational Animal Identification and Tracing System (NAIT); sheep industry; food safety; exports; animal identification
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