Beef Expo: Genetic fingerprinting kit will validate cattle parentage

A genetic fingerprint kit to validate cattle parentage for post-27-days-of-age passport applications was launched by Pfizer Animal Genetics at last week’s Beef Expo 2010, Hexham Auction Mart.

According to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS), there are at least 18,000 cattle without a passport due to rejected initial applications.

And until a passport has been obtained, these animals cannot be legally sold or moved between agricultural holdings and therefore have little value.

However, cattle without a passport can be made eligible for an application by DNA-based parentage confirmation.

The owner needs to first contact BCMS, who will confirm against their database that the animal’s nominated dam is still alive, explained Heather Bessoff White, Pfizer Animal Genetics director.

“BCMS will then supply an application form on which the calf and dam identities are pre-printed,” she said.

“The farmer is required to have their vet take blood or tissue samples from both calf and dam, which are analysed to confirm the calf’s parentage.” Without this confirmation, a passport cannot be issued.

“We want to alert farmers to check their passport files now and take action with their vet’s help to obtain any missing ones before it becomes a last minute panic,” said Dr White.

The self-contained cattle parentage test kit is available from vets.

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