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Requirements for selling livestock

South East Local Land Services is reminding producers of their responsibilities and requirements when selling livestock, with the opening of the South Eastern Livestock Exchange and the first sale of cattle on the 18 August.

The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is Australia’s system for the identification and traceability of cattle, sheep and goats.  It was introduced in 1999 to enhance Australia's ability to trace cattle during disease and food incidents, but was expanded to also include sheep and goats in 2009.  NLIS reflects Australia’s commitment to biosecurity and food safety and provides a competitive advantage in a global market.

NLIS is endorsed by major producer, feedlot, agent, saleyard and processor bodies and is
ISO 9001 certified.  It is underpinned by state/territory legislation, which forms the regulatory framework for the system.

The NLIS combines three elements to enable the lifetime traceability of animals:

  • an animal identifier (a visual or electronic ear tag known as a device)
  • identification of a physical location by means of a Property Identification Code (PIC)
  • a web-accessible database to store and correlate movement data and associated details.

As animals are bought, sold and moved along the supply chain, they must be tagged with an NLIS-accredited tag or device.  Each movement they make to a location with a different PIC is recorded centrally on the NLIS Database by people with NLIS accounts.  NLIS accounts are free to open and operate.

If livestock are bought, sold or moved through a saleyard, the livestock movement must be recorded by the saleyard.

For private sales (i.e. sales and movements that do not take place via a saleyard), the buyer/receiver of the livestock must record the livestock movement.

The vendor/sender of the livestock is not obligated to record the movement off their property, although they may do so.  Abattoirs must record movements for all directly consigned livestock.

All livestock should be identified with an NLIS-accredited device before being moved off a property.

If you are moving an animal off its property of birth, tag the animal with an NLIS-accredited breeder device.  Once an animal has been tagged, the tag should remain with the animal for life, but if it stops working/falls out and the animal is no longer on its property of birth, tag the animal with an NLIS-accredited post-breeder device to maintain lifetime traceability for the animal.

It is an offence to remove an NLIS tag from an animal and apply another tag, unless the animal's original tag is not working or has fallen out.

The National Vendor Declaration (NVD) is the main document upholding Australia’s meat and livestock food safety reputation and has been protecting Australia since 1996.  The NVD enables important information regarding your livestock’s history to be transferred from one property to another, one producer to another, through agents, saleyards, feedlots and exporters to end users such as processors and retailers.  Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) provides basic on-farm food safety guidelines and tools to help you back up the claims you make on the LPA NVD.

For more information about NLIS, NVDs, PICs or LPA please contact South East Local Land Services, Yass on 02 6118 7700.


Media contact: Fiona Kelk, 0407 489 571