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Streamlining NAIT comes with tougher compliance approach

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Federated Farmers is pleased that moves to streamline the National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme (NAIT) process are coming in tandem with a tougher approach on non-compliance.

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has indicated after nearly five years of educating farmers about the importance of NAIT for biosecurity and food traceability, those who continue to ignore their obligations would face prosecution and fines of up to $10,000.

But he also announced this week that recommendations from the long-running review of NAIT would be available early in the New Year for farmers and sector groups to comment on.

Federated Farmers President Katie Milne said making NAIT easier to comply with, such as changing the current requirement for both seller and receiver to enter animal movement details in the system to receiver only, and linking the NAIT number with a property identifier rather than a person, would be "a great step forward.

"The vast majority of farmers understand the importance of NAIT for biosecurity, and for our ability to command premium prices in the world’s markets by being able to demonstrate our high standards around food safety and traceability," Katie said.

"We know that there is generally very good NAIT compliance relating to animal movements through saleyards, and to meat processors. It’s not so good with farm-to-farm movements for grazing and the like.

"The Mycoplasma bovis incursions have shown up gaps in recording animal movements that could have been serious had that been a fast-moving disease. We need to up our game."

The 18 NAIT review recommendations are aimed at tidying up niggles and inefficiencies, such as around tag replacement, consistency of information on tags, the NAIT and Minder system interface, and future options around ultra-high frequency RFID.

A related topic is the potential to switch paper-based Animal Status Declaration (ASD) cards to a digitised system that will tie in with NAIT and enhance our level of information if there is a serious animal disease outbreak.

Ultimately, to help get on top of New Zealand’s serious stock rustling problem, Federated Farmers would also like to see an ability for police to more easily access the NAIT database when dealing with suspicious movement of animals.

"We look forward to the NAIT review recommendations," Katie said. "As Damien O’Connor noted, it’s important for OSPRI and MPI to know what’s working for farmers and industry, and if there are any barriers in the system that are stopping people from complying."

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