The longer it takes to implement a national stock traceability system, the more the New Zealand economy is at risk
of a disease outbreak like foot and mouth, Livestock Improvement chairman Stuart Bay said today.
Mr Bay said livestock farming provided about 40 per cent of New Zealand's exports but the country was "lagging the field"
when it came to tracking animal movements.
The implementation of a national animal traceability programme was vital, he said, to protect the integrity of New Zealand's
animal products, processes and management systems and to give certainty to the farming and export sectors and before a biosecurity
Speaking at LIC's annual meeting in Hamilton today, Mr Bay called for more government leadership on establishing a system,
which, although the focus of an industry group, has been put back.
National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) was set up two years ago.
It signalled that national traceability would soon be a requirement for all New Zealand livestock industries.
Initially NAIT indicated that, by around 2008, it would be mandatory for the cattle and deer sectors to have a traceability
system operational, and set 2007 as the date for voluntary implementation.
"The voluntary date has been and gone and our best guess, today, is that the mandatory date has moved back to 2009," Mr
LIC has developed its own dairy cattle tracking system, MINDA.
"What is needed is one, effective system that does not duplicate infrastructure or cost for farmers," Mr Bay said.