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Why Do We Need To Identify Sheep?
The goal of animal identification is to prevent and control the spread of disease and to provide safe food to consumers. The Canadian Sheep Identification Program will dramatically increase our ability to respond to any disease outbreaks and will increase consumer confidence in our product. Although the national flock currently enjoys a highly rated health status, a disease outbreak can occur at anytime.

National identification is also essential for the development of effective disease eradication programs.

Why Now?
The Canadian Sheep Identification Program is, in part, a response to domestic and international pressure for livestock industries to develop effective traceback systems. Recent outbreaks of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in Europe, E. coli in Belgium and the United States, and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the United Kingdom devastated livestock industries because traceback systems did not exist. Here in Canada, the need for livestock identification has been heightened since the initial discovery of BSE in May 2003. Governments and industries have realized that effective traceability systems are required to prevent and control the spread of disease by tracing its origin from the farm gate to the consumers’ plate.

In Canada, the cattle industry, including bison, successfully implemented the final phase of its program in July, 2002. The pork, goat, and cervid sectors are also preparing to implement similar programs.

Livestock identification is also happening throughout the world. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is insisting all of its members upgrade their diagnostic and surveillance capabilities to reduce risk when animals are imported and exported.

In 2002, the sheep industry exported over 11,000 animals. The Canadian Sheep Identification Program is necessary to maintain access to both our domestic and international markets.


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