Animal Identification

Animal identification is one of the three pillars of traceability, along with premises identification and movement.  

There are two ways to identify animals:

  • Individual identification - A unique number is applied to an individual animal (ex: ear tag).
  • Group/lot identification - A group/lot identification number is best suited to animals that are raised and move through the production chain as one group (ex: poultry).

Beef cattle

The Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) is responsible for the administration of the unique animal identification numbers for beef cattle in Canada (except Quebec). Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) ear tags are required for each beef animal. RFID tags transmit animal identification information using radio waves. CCIA has a list of approved RFID tags for beef cattle.

For more information contact the CCIA.

Dairy cattle

The National Livestock Identification for Dairy (NLID) is the coordinating body for dairy tagging in Canada (except Quebec). Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) ear tags are required for each dairy animal. RFID tags transmit animal identification information using radio waves. NLID has a list of approved RFID registration for dairy cattle.

For more information contact the NLID.

Bison

The Bison Identification Program is operated in conjunction with the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA). Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) ear tags are required for each bison. RFID tags transmit animal identification information using radio waves. The Canadian Bison Association (CBA) has information on the approved RFID tag for bison.

For more information contact the CBA.

Sheep

The Canadian Sheep Identification Program (CSIP) coordinates animal identification for sheep. Sheep require approved ear tags.

For more information contact the CSIP

Cervids

Cervids require ear tags under The Livestock Industry Diversification Act enforced by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.

For more information contact the Canadian Cervid Alliance or the Manitoba Elk Farming.

Pigs

Pigs can be identified by a tattoo or ear tag. A national tattoo number is applied to animals at the last farm-of-residence before market hogs are sent to slaughter. Approved ear tags are available for the identification of breeding stock.

For more information contact PigTrace Canada.

Horses

Horses can be identified in many ways including Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices (Ex: microchip), tattoos and visual descriptions, which may be recorded on a passport. RFID devices transmit animal identification information using radio waves.

For more information contact Equine Canada.

Goats

The Canadian National Goat Federation (CNGF) is coordinating a voluntary animal identification program for goats that will use ear tags.

For more information on goat identification contact CNGF.

Poultry

The poultry industry uses an owner identifier, rather than an individual animal identifier. However, numbered identification bands are available to use for management purposes.

For more information contact the Manitoba Chicken Producers, Manitoba Egg Farmers, Manitoba Turkey Producers.