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NLIS Cattle

Animal Health Australia (AHA) participates in the advisory and standards committees for Australia’s National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) for the cattle industries.

Permanent, whole-of-life identification

NLIS (Cattle) is Australia’s system for permanently identifying and tracking all cattle through their life. It is managed by NLIS Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary company of Meat & Livestock Australia.

Australia’s whole-of-life cattle identification system aims to ensure that individual animals can be traced from property of birth to slaughter to meet biosecurity, food safety, product integrity and market access requirements.

Cattle producers use NLIS-approved machine-readable, radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) to identify cattle, such as an ear tag or a rumen bolus and ear tag combination.

Each RFID contains a microchip encoded with a unique number that is linked to the property identification code (PIC) of the animal’s property of birth.

Cattle identified with NLIS devices can be electronically scanned as they move through the livestock chain. At scanning, each owner’s PIC can be recorded and linked to the RFID. The transaction information is stored in the secure, central NLIS database.

With full transaction recording is in place, we can theoretically establish a life record of an animal’s residency and the other animals it has interacted with. The intention is that this centrally stored, electronic history of an individual animal’s residency will enable rapid and accurate traceability of all cattle in Australia in the event of a disease outbreak or chemical residue incident.

The NLIS database operates in conjunction with the state and territory property registers that record the details of properties assigned with PICs.

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Page reviewed: September 18, 2015