NLIS for alpacas

NLIS is Australia’s system for the permanent identification and lifetime traceability of livestock, bringing together three simple concepts: 

  • identification of a physical location for the animal—known as the ‘property identification code’ (PIC) 
  • an animal identifier—a visual or electronic tag or brand, known as a ‘device’ 
  • a method of correlation and storage—a web-based database. 

The NLIS is designed to record device and PIC statuses and to track devices and corresponding livestock movements for disease control, biosecurity, food safety, market access and other industry-related purposes. The NLIS Alpaca will use a visually readable electronic tag that will stay with each animal for life. 

The AAA has been progressed this project since 2004. We have sourced and achieved a substantial government grant to undertake all the necessary research into the mechanics of its introduction and the national NLIS committee has approved our tag testing program and in 2023 approved the implementation of two different NLIS device options for alpaca.

Alpaca is now fully operational with the NLIS database managed independently by the Integrity Systems Company. 

At present, there is no requirement for NLIS tags in alpacas in any jurisdiction, albeit there are identification requirements.  

There are animal health and biosecurity imperatives to having better traceability system than currently implored by AAA members. All of the existing disease tracking systems are very slow, and the introduction of NLIS will vastly improve response times for traceability and then disease control. This has an animal welfare benefit, and an economic benefit with maintaining the value of alpaca industry and protecting individual herds. There are benefits for other livestock industries to include all FMD susceptible species in the NLIS database. Alpaca industry has been commended by authorities for the proactive stance on biosecurity and NLIS.

The initial change over from IAR to NLISID will continue to be voluntary, with a phased approach. Unused IAR tags will still be able to be used for registration and alpacas identified with IAR tags are eligible for AAA shows/events. They are not being turned off, but the supply of new IAR tags will cease February 2024.

The state government representatives have implied that they will likely look to have NLIS legislation introduced parallel to the sheep & goat industries of 2025. This is not a fast process and currently remains on a state-by-state case.

The IAR / ealpaca system does not include traceability. It only tracks the ownership change of registered stock. The NLIS database will include all alpaca movements, in addition to include alpacas owned outside of the member’s registered database. PIC numbers and waybill’s will be required.

There is a minimum order for NLIS tags. Those members with smaller tag requirements can use “yellow” tags that will be applicable for all birth years.

NLIS Alpaca and Llama Business Rules_July 2023