The province is moving forward with a mandatory Premises Identification (ID) regulation, which it says will help livestock producers and communities better prepare for emergencies and be equipped to respond to them.
“B.C. farmers and ranchers have been clear that a new regulation to trace their animals is needed, and we are listening,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, in a news release. “Rapid access to information is key in an emergency, and Premises ID was invaluable during the 2017 wildfires. When the new regulation is in place, it will include mandatory registration so we can effectively support industry in responding to both animal health and environmental emergencies affecting livestock and poultry.”
A new Premises ID regulation under the B.C. Animal Health Act is anticipated to be in place in early 2022. The ministry is developing regulatory changes based upon stakeholder engagement. Consideration was given to the opinions and ideas received in response to an intentions paper from approximately 850 B.C. ranchers and livestock producers, local governments and industry associations.
“We are at a time when moving to a mandatory Premises ID makes sense for more than just traceability,” said Kevin Boon, general manager, BC Cattlemen’s Association. “The value of having Premises ID was proven for emergency management in the 2017 and 2018 wildfires with the biggest hurdle, at the time, being that producers were not yet signed up. We never know when these events will occur, but having the security of knowing that you are registered if it does just makes sense.”
The new, mandatory registration closes an information gap about where farm animals are located when government agencies and industry need to respond quickly to disease and natural disaster emergencies. The new system will also inform whether some livestock and poultry operations can continue operating during emergencies and strengthen the province’s traceability system.
As B.C. producers prepare for the upcoming spring freshet and summer wildfire seasons, the ministry is encouraging the sector to register with the Premises ID program. The program is available at no cost through a user-friendly online registration system. Producers are encouraged to register land where animals are kept, handled, assembled or disposed of. 2021 will be the last year participation in the Premises ID program is voluntary.
- The Premises ID program is part of a three-pillared traceability system that also includes animal identification and movement reporting.
- Under the voluntary registration system, an estimated 64% of livestock producers (5,183 premises) and 100% of supply-managed livestock premises are currently registered (i.e., dairy cattle, swine and poultry).
- During the record-setting wildfire season of 2017, the Premises ID program was used to help at least 189 ranchers access their animals in evacuation zones, saving the lives of hundreds of animals.