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Australia’s NVD Leads the Major Beef Export Countries in Animal Health Trace-back but RFID NLIS is an Expensive Failure

By Mrs Sally Black
Australian Beef Association

Article from The Australian Beef Association News

Australian Beef Association Chairman, Brad Bellinger has released an independent audit of cattle producer NLIS Database accounts.

The Agribusiness Online Report illustrates that NLIS still relies on our National Vendor Declaration paper trail for accurate trace-back. On its own, NLIS is hopelessly misleading despite Australian Cattle Producers spending $370 million on tags and reading charges with a further $40 million invested by State and Federal Governments.

The independent survey confirms failings identified in the December 2006 findings of the Price Waterhouse Cooper Report prepared for Minister McGauran at the instigation of the ABA.

In this latest survey, some 56,905 cattle transactions from 17 PICs were analysed, and it revealed that of the 25573 cattle slaughtered to date, 34.4% never had or had lost their Lifetime Traceability in the NLIS data-base since 2005. It also showed a yearly trend towards a worsening loss of Lifetime Traceability.

Also, additional losses in Lifetime Traceability are being caused by the substantial annual fall out rate of RFID tags, which the ABA suspects is at least 3%. Lost tags should be replaced by orange non breeder tags, only adding to the 6% already carrying orange non breeder tags.

Mr Bellinger said, Currently a minimum of 16 % of white taggedbreeder stock plus 6% with orange non breeder tags are going to slaughter with lost Lifetime Traceability according to the NLIS database, thereby proving that RFID/NLIS is an ongoing expensive failure. Fortunately all stock movements are accompanied by our respected NVD paper trail, which has guaranteed the integrity of our disease and residue traceability across all Australian cattle transactions for the past 15 years. We have gone backwards with individual RFID. The old system used tail tags, which were much less expensive and actually more effective. The PIC and an individual animal number were on every tailtag in Australia, but the information was never utilized.

The audit gives a clear indication of the efficacy of NLIS using RFID tags. Over the coming weeks, Agribusiness Online will be conducting an audit on the NVD or mob-based paper trail, which on preliminary work has accurately followed actual movements of cattle. We will release this second audit when it is completed, Mr Bellinger stated.

ABA calls on Minister Burke to come to the aid of the industry that he is meant to represent, and to get rid of compulsory RFID that his political predecessors attached needlessly to Australia's already world-leading trace-back system,' said Mr Bellinger. ENDS

For more information please contact Lee McNicholl 07 4627 6364 Mob 0427 626 461
Brad Bellinger on 02 6725 4282 Mob 0408 03 8157
John Carter 02 4832 1179 Mob 0427 321 179

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