Equine Canada Takes The Lead On A National Equine Identification System
The federal government is looking to Equine Canada to develop a strategy for identification of all equines in Canada, with a component to ensure equine traceability.
As a direct outcome of the BSE crisis in Alberta, the federal government is looking to expand mandatory animal identification.
The federal government and national livestock producer organizations are proceeding with the creation of the Canadian Livestock Identification Agency to direct the development of a national multi-species program for identification and traceability. In the proposed structure for the agency, Equine Canada will be represented on the Board of Directors with other livestock species. Each livestock group has been asked to prepare a recommended plan for identification and traceability for their group, for presentation to the federal government.
The economic value of the equine-equestrian industry in Canada is clearly generated through the live use activities of our horses. However, the majority of horses in Canada are resident on rural properties, where our animals regularly come in contact with other food livestock species. The very nature of the mobility of horses involved in sport and recreation, means that in the case of highly communicable diseases (hoof-and-mouth for example), horses could act as a disease transmission vector to spread disease between countries or regions of the country.
Equine Canada, on behalf of its members is responsible for developing an equine-specific program that meets the needs of our breeding, sport, and recreation stakeholders, and satisfies federal government requirements for identification and traceability. Breeds & Industry Division perceives this as an opportunity to develop a system that marries our requirement for performance and pedigree tracking to support our marketing initiatives, with the government requirements for livestock identification.
Successful development of a plan to identify approximately 1,000,000 horses over the next four years will involve active consultation, and considerable cooperation between the various sectors of our industry. If we want to achieve a Made In Canada Equine Identification Solution that satisfies the needs of our sport, racing, recreation, and breeder stakeholders, the window of opportunity is open now.