Livestock identification and movement: pigs

Page last updated: Monday, 5 February 2024 - 11:49am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Identification of livestock is required by law under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Identification and Movement of Stock and Apiaries) Regulations 2013 [BAM (IMSA) Regulations].

The BAM (IMSA) Regulations also contain requirements to meet the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS). The NLIS Pigs operates through the existing PigPass system.

Identifying your livestock assists in maintaining Australia's biosecurity systems that assure trading partners of our ability to trace disease and residue issues. It also deters theft and helps recovering stolen animals.

Owners must register

All pig owners must be registered with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

There are now two avenues to register: via the new online Brands Portal or with the existing paper-based applications. The Brands Portal is a secure website that allows Beekeepers, Livestock owners and supply chain location operators to manage their registrations online. It is the preferred option for submitting registrations. To register as an owner of stock, login to the Brands Portal online.  

You will be taken to the Welcome page which will guide you through the Digital Identity setup and Brands Portal login procedures. If you are unable or prefer not to use the Brands Portal, you can download and send in the completed paper forms via email or post.

On registration you will be issued registered identifiers (stock brand, earmark and pig tattoo) and a property identification code (PIC) for the property where the animals are kept. A PIC card is issued that lists the properties that the owner has nominated to run stock on and the registered identifiers for use with the stock.

For more information see:

Identification requirements

The BAM (IMSA) Regulations underpin the NLIS. Pigs may have an accredited NLIS ear tag displaying the owner’s registered PIC, a "P" in a circle and the NLIS logo. This is the only option for pigs under 25kg. Pigs 25kg and over may be tattooed or NLIS tagged.

Registered pig tattoo – arrangement of 5 numerals

Your registered pig tattoo consists of an arrangement of 5 numerals. It is presented in the following format: 12/123.  It is the same number as your registration number.

Slap brand tattoo – for pigs 25kg and over

A slap brand tattoo can only be used for pigs that are 25kg and over. A slap brand consists of needles inserted into a block and inked with approved carbon black paste or ink/dye. Slap brands must be ordered through an approved manufacturer or rural retailer.

If choosing to use the tattoo:

  • Before leaving the property of birth, pigs 25kg and over must be slap branded on the left shoulder with the tattoo registered to that property.
  • Before leaving any other property, introduced pigs and those of uncertain origin must be slap branded on the right shoulder with the tattoo registered to that property. If the right shoulder has been previously used for a tattoo, use the right rump, then left rump.

NLIS tags

Owners may choose this method of identification, particularly for non-commercial pigs. This is the only method for identifying pigs under 25kg. NLIS tags for pigs must be ordered through an approved manufacturer or rural retailer.

  • Before leaving the property of birth, pigs under 25kg must be tagged in their left ear with a yellow NLIS breeder tag bearing the PIC of that property.
  • Before leaving any other property, pigs under 25kg must be tagged in their right ear with an orange NLIS post-breeder tag bearing the PIC of that property.
  • Using an NLIS tag with the correct placement and colour as described is an option for pigs 25kg and over.
  • When an NLIS tag is applied, it must stay with the pig for life and not be removed.
  • If an NLIS tag is lost, the pig must be identified with the appropriate tag for its current PIC of residence.