Sending unsafe to tag animals to a meat processor

We're reminding farmers to always tag and register their animals before sending them to the works — or get an exemption if tagging them is unsafe.

From 1 July 2021, when recording untagged animals in NAIT, meat processors will specify if untagged animals they receive have an 'unsafe to tag' exemption or not.

This will help us and the industry collect better information about tag retention and tagging practices. It also provides clear accountability for people who are moving untagged animals that are not exempt from tagging, which is an offence under the NAIT Act.

We will be monitoring the numbers of animals that are moved untagged without an 'unsafe to tag' exemption as reported to NAIT by meat processors. We will follow up with farmers if necessary.

As meat processors update their systems, farmers will see different NAIT levies being applied on their kill sheets. From 1 July 2021, your meat processor will apply the following NAIT levies (per head): 

  • $13 (plus GST) 'unsafe to tag' levy only for animals that are declared 'unsafe to tag' in NAIT and marked with a red X by the farmer
  • $0.50c slaughter levy for other animals — however, any untagged animals sent to a meat processor that are not declared and marked as unsafe may be investigated for an infringement fine. 

These are the existing levy rates since March 2014.

Meat processors may also charge additional fees for both 'unsafe to tag' exempt and other untagged animals. These fees are associated with the risks of handling unsafe animals and/or the loss of revenue due to untagged animals being ineligible for some export markets — for example, the European Union. 

Tag once — tag right 

To reduce the risk of an animal losing its tag in transport, you should make sure their animals are tagged properly following tagging guidelines, and long before sending them to reduce irritation and rubbing.  

If you notice a high number of their tagged animals arriving at the meat processor untagged, we recommend scanning them as they leave the farm and proving that information to us to update NAIT records.

Sending 'unsafe to tag' animals to a meat processor?Remember to declare the animal in NAIT and mark it before it leaves.

Untagged animals that are large and/or aggressive and present a risk to you or your teams may be considered ‘unsafe to tag’ for NAIT purposes. You can get an exemption from tagging these animals.  

How to get an exemption for an unsafe to tag animal 

You must meet the following conditions to get an exemption from tagging.

  1. Declare — you must record an 'unsafe to tag' movement declaration in your NAIT account before the animal is sent. This can be done any time before sending the animal.
  2. Mark — the animal must be clearly marked with a red X so it can be identified by meat processor staff or inspectors.
  3. Pay — you must pay a $13 plus GST) 'unsafe to tag' levy for each declared 'unsafe to tag' animal. This levy is deducted by the meat processor.

You must also note 'unsafe to tag' animals when filling out a declaration to your livestock transporter. We also recommend mentioning this in the notes section on your Animal Status Declaration. 

This requirement also applies to stock companies sending 'unsafe to tag' animals direct to slaughter from a saleyard location.