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The need for the sheep industry to develop an effective traceback system was first recognized in 1995 by the Livestock Identification Working Group (LIDWG). This group was created by the Canadian Animal Health Consultative Committee (CAHCC) of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to represent the national identification interests of the livestock industry, in both the private and public sectors. The Working Group quickly recognized the need to first address the potential threat of BSE in the cattle, and scrapie in sheep.

In 1996, the concept of developing a national identification program was proposed to the Canadian Sheep Federation (CSF). The Board decided to allow the cattle industry to develop its program and establish it as a model for other sectors.

Two years later, at its Annual General Meeting, the Board resolved to endorse the concept of a national identification system for the sheep industry. A technical committee was established to begin developing the program.

In 2000, the CSF received financial assistance from the federal government to initiate communication with producers. Information was published in journals and newsletters. During the summer and fall, extensive consultative meetings were held with industry stakeholders nationwide. The response indicated that the sheep industry supported the development of a national identification program that would reflect its needs. Based on this response, the Board of Directors voted to develop and implement an identification system that was "affordable, flexible and effective" for the sheep industry.

In 2001, the Canadian Sheep Federation requested regulatory changes to the legislation governing mandatory identification. In March, 2002 a meeting was held in Winnipeg to draft amendments that incorporated the requirements of the sheep sector. The final changes to the legislation were reviewed and accepted by the current National Identification Committee of the CSF in March 2002.

The legislation was enacted on January 1st, 2004.


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