Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., is urging cattle farmers to ensure their animals are tagged under the National Animal Identification and Traceability System (NAITS).
Cattle farmers can access free ear tags, provided by the Government, to be used in conjunction with a cattle passport, which will enable them to properly identify their animals if stolen.
Speaking on Wednesday (September 21), following a visit to farms in Alexandria, St. Ann, to observe and participate in the tagging of cattle, Minister Charles reminded farmers that under the Animals (Diseases and Importation) (Marking of Bovine Animals) Regulations, 2015, buying, selling or slaughtering untagged livestock is illegal.
He noted that full enforcement of the regulations started in September, “so the police have all right and authority, if the cattle is not [tagged and there is no passport], to take it.”
Mr. Charles indicated that one of the main objectives of animal tagging is to reduce the scourge of praedial larceny.
“We have a very deliberate and purposeful approach to making sure that we get everybody to be aware of the laws and regulations, and we will do everything, as a Government, to facilitate the farmers abiding by the law. It is going to help them to be able to protect themselves from those thieves,” he noted.
Mr. Charles informed that the Ministry will be boosting the Veterinary Services Division’s capacity to increase tagging islandwide.
To date, more than 60,000 heads of cattle have been tagged under the NAITS. Since 2015, some 12,800 cattle have been tagged in St. Ann, 874 of which were undertaken between January and August this year.
“Every farmer that I’ve spoken to has responded positively [to NAITS]; but they have also indicated that they have a far way to go in complying,” he said.
“We are going to be boosting resources to give [Acting Director of the Veterinary Services Division], Dr. [Kevin] Walker, the support that is needed, to give the [Jamaica Constabulary Force] the support that is required for us to go around and increase tagging across these communities,” Mr. Charles added, while encouraging livestock farmers to become ambassadors of the programme.
NAITS is a mandatory system, established in 2015, to enhance animal disease surveillance and the traceability of animals and products of animal origin.
It focuses on safeguarding animal health and addressing food safety issues in support of the development of a modern livestock sector aligned with international standards.
Jhuss Khool – Chip Glock (Audio Visual)