All cattle must have passports by next year

All cattle must have passports by next year

Thursday, July 02, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries says effective January 1, 2021, all cattle must have ear tags and corresponding passports.

According to the ministry, the move is part of an effort to tighten enforcement measures under the National Animal Identification and Traceability System (NAITS).

Minister without portfolio in the ministry, JC Hutchinson, made the announcement during his contribution to the 2020/2021 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives today.

He said the requirement will help in the fight against praedial larceny, which costs farmers approximately $6 billion annually.

“All cattle owners, therefore, now have six months to access the free ear tags and passports for each head of cattle. And we are urging them all to get those tags now. Tag your animals so we can trace them and keep them out of the hands of the praedial thieves,” he said.

Hutchinson said that over the coming weeks, the ministry, through its Veterinary Services Division, will be engaging with the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the public health inspectorate, to strengthen compliance with the regulations “and to have adherence to jointly strengthen our resolve to ensure that no cattle meat is sold without the requisite checks and balances in accordance with the requirements of the law”.

He added the NAITS has the potential to significantly curb praedial larceny and was primarily intended for the control of disease, food safety and the tagging and tracing of animals.

“Under the NAITS legislation, all cattle reared in Jamaica should have both the ear tags and the corresponding passport to identify the animal. So there should be no movement of cattle from any one location to the next without those passports and the ear tags,” Hutchinson said.

The law also states that no public health inspector is permitted to inspect or certify any meat before an ante-mortem verification is done, which includes checking of the passport and the matching ear tags.

This verification process, the minister said, is an essential aspect of the praedial larceny control programme.

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