A number of traceability reviews are being conducted at a state and federal level, which may suggest reforming the current traceability system and propose removing the tag-free movements.
The goat industry is concerned it will not be given the opportunity to provide feedback and have input in any traceability decisions affecting the industry.
To date, we have not been engaged by the NSW Department of Primary Industries in any conversations on the topic, but we would welcome opening this dialogue.
There is a real concern among goat producers that decisions about tag free movements will be taken out of their hands and made by people who are not familiar with the unique nature of the goat industry and our farming enterprises, which are substantially different to sheep operations.
Often decisions that are not consultative produce unworkable outcomes.
It is important that those making decisions on traceability meet with producers to understand the industry and our concerns. They must also be aware that there is not a one-size fits all approach to livestock traceability.
Sheep, Cattle and goats have different production systems and what works for one sector, may not work for another.
The production of rangeland harvested goats and registered depots are systems unique to the goat industry, both of which utilise tag-free movements.
Under the rangeland production system, unmanaged goats are mustered before being transported direct to abattoirs for processing within 24 hours of being captured.
In this scenario, tagging does not improve any traceability or biosecurity, but would leave producers with a significant cost burden.
To the contrary, tagging prior to transport can lead to increased disease and infection risks, such as tetanus which can be deadly.
Farmers are sick of being left out of decisions that significantly affect them, but being expected to pick up the cost and regulatory burden.
Industry would hate for goat producers to be omitted from decisions on traceability and for the industry to be left with an unviable and impracticable system.
- Felicity McLeod, chair, NSW Farmers Goat Committee