12 December 1997

Double tagging for Dutch pigs

ALL pigs sold on to Hollands Integral Chain Management farm assurance scheme will have to be double tagged in the future.

Hans Schouwenburg of Hollands product board for livestock, meat and eggs, explains that the system used for cattle will be introduced for pigs.

Cattle sold on to the scheme must be double tagged with identification numbers provided by the product board. When cattle are tagged the producer e-mails the board with the numbers, which are then entered on a central database.

When the animal is sold buyer and seller both e-mail the commodity board with the tag numbers. Imported animals are also tagged and are marked on the database as imported animals.

"Anyone buying an animal can retrieve information about an animals life and movements. This process takes under one minute," says Mr Schouwenburg.

Pigs will soon have to be double tagged at three weeks old with herd numbers in the same way as the cattle.

"It is a lot of work but one outbreak of swine fever sharpens the mind and we now wish that we had imposed this earlier so that we could track movements of pigs more closely," he adds.n