Livestock ownership, identification and movement in Western Australia

Page last updated: Tuesday, 18 January 2022 - 12:20pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Traceability

Stock traceability is the first step in good biosecurity and is a key part of everyday sound farm management practices. Traceability is essential to maintain access to export markets and for food safety. It allows stock to be traced for disease or residue purposes and deters stock theft.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) assists owners to comply with the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management (Identification and Movement of Stock and Apiaries) Regulations 2013 [the BAM (IMSA) regulations]. If you are an owner of livestock, you have a responsibility to ensure that you meet these requirements.

Step 1: Register as an owner of livestockand obtain a property identification code (PIC) for each property where you keep livestock  

DPIRD’s Brands Office processes registrations and allocates a property identification code (PIC) to owners to indicate who owns the animals and where they are kept. A PIC card is issued that lists the properties where the owner has nominated to run stock and provides registered identifiers for use with their stock, namely a stock brand, earmark and/or pig tattoo.

All registered owners, PICs and stock brands in WA are recorded in the Stock Brand and PIC Register. The Stock Brand and PIC Register search guide provides help on how to search the register and look for available stock brands.

To register, forward a completed application for registration as an owner of stock or application for registration as a beekeeper to the Brands Office.

Who needs to register?

Owners of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys and hybrids, deer, alpaca, llama, camels, vicuna and buffalo need to register, even if these animals are kept as pets. Beekeepers are also considered owners of livestock.

Ostrich owners only need to register if they own other types of livestock, or if they wish to identify their ostriches with a registered identifier.

You can read further information on the Registering as an owner of stock or as a beekeeper webpage. This page also describes how to register as a manager of a non-farming property (e.g. commercial feedlot, transit depot, showground, vet clinic) and to transfer, cancel or update property, address and trading details of existing registrations and identifiers.

Step 2: Identify your livestock correctly

Identification of livestock provides traceability and is required by law.

There are various stock identifiers available and livestock species have different identification requirements.

Livestock identification requirements by species

 
Species Identification requirements
Cattle and buffalo

Must have an accredited NLIS electronic device. 

In the south west land division this is by 6 months of age or before they first leave the property, whichever occurs first. In the pastoral areas this is by 18 months of age or before they first leave the property, whichever occurs first.

Earmarking and branding is optional.

Sheep

Must have an NLIS tag with either the brand or PIC of the owner displayed. This allows for mob-based traceability using visually readable ear tags or individual identification and traceability with NLIS electronic devices.

Earmarking is optional.

Horses, donkeys and hybrids Must have a registered identifier (brand) or an approved identifier (e.g. microchip).
Pigs

Must have a registered identifier as a tattoo or an NLIS tag with the PIC of the current owner displayed, prior to being moved. This allows for mob-based traceability using visually readable ear tags or a slap brand tattoo, depending on the weight of the pigs.

Goats

Must have an NLIS tag with either the brand or PIC displayed and may have a registered identifier (earmark).

This allows for mob-based traceability using visually readable ear tags or individual identification and traceability with NLIS electronic devices.

Deer, alpaca, llama and vicuna  Must have a registered identifier (brand and/or earmark) or an approved identifier.
Camels Not required to be identified unless the owners wish to identify, claim ownership or distinguish from feral populations or camels owned by another party. Owners must be registered.
Ostriches

Not required to be identified.

Owners only need to register if they own other types of livestock, or if they wish to identify their ostriches with a registered identifier.

An ostrich may be identified by a registered identifier applied as a brand on an approved neck tag or an approved leg band or an approved identifier.

Full details of identification requirements including application methods and age timeframes are available via each species page link.

Types of stock identifiers

 

Registered identifiers

An identification requirement for each species consisting of a stock brand, earmark or tattoo and an age by which time stock should be identified.

DPIRD’s Brands Office issues registered identifiers.

Approved identifiers

A preferred type of identification system (such as a brand, microchip or brass tag) for a recognised group, such as a breed society, may be approved on application to the Registrar of Stock and Apiaries.

Approved identifiers replace registered identifiers, but not NLIS identification.

National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) identifiers

The NLIS is a permanent, whole-of-life identification system that enables animals to be tracked from property of birth to slaughter or export.

NLIS identification and tracing requirements differ according to the species. Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and pigs are identified under this system.

For more information email nlis@dpird.wa.gov.au or call 1300 NLIS (1300 926 547).

Earmarking and branding of sheep and cattle in WA is optional 

Following consultation with WA sheep and cattle owners and industry stakeholders, from 1 January 2022, the earmarking of sheep and earmarking and/or branding of cattle is optional. For more information on the consultation process and decision to make this change, see the consultation report on Talking Biosecurity.

Step 3: Complete an NVD/Waybill every time you move stock off a property

Whenever livestock are moved off a property, livestock movement documentation such as a waybill, national vendor declaration (NVD)/waybill, Pigpass NVD/waybill or equivalent is required for most species.

This includes stock being moved to agistment or to a different PIC under the same ownership.

Documentation required when moving livestock off a property

 
Species Requirements when moved off a property

Cattle

Sheep

Goats

Buffalo

NVD/waybill or waybill. 

 

If moving to a different PIC, this must be recorded in the national NLIS database within 48 hours of arrival.

Pigs

Waybill or PigPass NVD/waybill.

 

If to a different PIC, must be recorded on the PigPass database, which automatically updates the NLIS database.

Deer, alpaca, llama or vicuna

Waybill or equivalent movement document.

Horses, donkeys and hybrids

camels
Do not require waybill or equivalent movement document unless being moved to an abattoir for slaughter for human consumption.

 

Ostrich Do not require waybill or equivalent movement document.

A waybill is not required when moving stock between properties with the same PIC, if the stock are accompanied by your current PIC card or a full copy of it (showing both sides).

Your card must list the properties registered to that PIC and stock being moved need to be identified or registered to that PIC.

Step 4: Record on the NLIS database all stock coming onto a property

When you bring in cattle, sheep, goats or buffalo you are responsible for updating the NLIS database

If you buy through an agent always ask for the NLIS upload number if they are doing the transfer for you – it is your receipt that proves the transfer is done.

If you buy in pigs, you must be record this on the PigPass database, which automatically updates the NLIS database.

Livestock movement into and out of WA and the Kimberley region

There are controls and movement recording requirements for all livestock entering and leaving WA and also across disease control lines, such as the tick line in the Kimberley.

For information on importing livestock from overseas and other Australian states and territories see Importing livestock into WA and for intrastate see Moving livestock in Western Australia.

For information relating to livestock movement to other Australian states and territories, please consult with the importing state.

Contact information

Livestock ownership, identification and traceability
1300 926 547

Author

Livestock Biosecurity