7,500 heads of cattle to be tagged
Some 7,500 heads of cattle are to be tagged next fiscal year as part of a $15.7 million programme aimed at reducing larceny of livestock.
The tagging of the animals is to be done under the National Animal Identification and Ear Tagging project.
In addition to the ear tagging, $7.4 million has been set aside in the Budget to fund the Praedial Larceny Prevention Programme.
That programme, the ministry said, is critical to the livelihood of farmers, as praedial theft and farm theft are the biggest problems facing the agricultural sector.
Last fiscal year, then Agriculture Minister Roger Clarke announced in Parliament that as part of measures to tackle praedial larceny, a national animal identification and traceability system, which entails tagging cattle, was to be rolled out.
PRAEDIAL LARCENY FIGHT
Six years earlier, Clarke had mocked his Parliamentary colleague, J.C. Hutchinson, for his proposal to implant microchips in animals as part of the fight against praedial larceny.
The minister told Parliament that, under the programme, every head of 70,000 cattle on the island would be tagged and issued a passport.
"This is not a gimmick," Clarke said, while noting that the passport would contain information about the animal and would be mandatory for the movement of the animal.
The Government first spent money establishing the ear-tagging system in the 2010/2011 Budget, when $1.9 million was used to establish an identification and traceability system.
This year's provision in the Budget will aid in enhancing animal disease surveillance and traceability of animals and products of animal origin, safeguard animal and public health, and address food-safety issues, in support of a modern livestock in accordance with international standards.
The identification system, according to the ministry, will establish official ownership of animals through the registration and identification process.