Traceability: Bison

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Traceability is a crucial component of an effective animal health and food safety system that enables precise and rapid emergency response to protect livestock, producers and consumers. Determining where livestock are, where they have been and what other livestock they have come into contact with allows for efficient emergency planning and response. Traceability in Alberta relies on the three fundamental pillars of premises identification, animal identification and animal movement.

Click here to print this checklist

Bison Owner’s Checklist of Traceability Requirements

o Register and receive a PID number - click here to register or to log in

o Register any information changes in the PID system within 30 days

o Apply approved bison tag prior to the animal leaving the farm of origin

Applicable Traceability Legislation and Regulations:
Better Management Practices

o Registration of all livestock premises in the PID system

o Keep records of animal movement on and off the farm

o Accurate record keeping including parentage and medications

o Adoption of biosecurity measures

Premises Identification

Premises Identification (PID), one of the three traceability pillars, is a way of linking livestock and poultry to land locations. The information collected through the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) Premises Identification System allows industry and government to locate animals more quickly and accurately to confine a disease outbreak or emergency such as a flood or fire. Animal owners can be notified if an emergency might affect their animals and operation but this can only be accomplished if land locations are registered in the Premises Identification System.

Under Alberta’s Premises Identification Regulation, if you own a livestock animal or poultry, and that animal is kept at a premises other than a commingling site (e.g. stable), you need to apply for a PID Account and obtain at least one PID Number associated to where the animal(s) are located. You must apply for a PID Account within 30 days of assuming ownership of an animal. If you own an animal that is only kept at locations controlled by someone else (e.g. stable) and that animal will never be kept at a premises under your care and control (e.g. farm or acreage), you are not required to register for a PID Account. However, you will need to obtain the PID Number from the operator of the site.

Although only the primary agricultural operation (e.g. home quarter) needs to be registered in the PID System, registering other locations that are not connected to the home quarter will ensure that your operation is better protected. Although you may view your livestock as a pet or companion animal, it is important to obtain a PID Account because your animal can still receive and/or transmit diseases. To find out the species of animals included under the regulation, click here. Even if you only own one animal, it is still necessary to obtain a PID Account.

If you operate a commingling site (e.g. stable, community pasture, fair ground, etc.), you are required to obtain a PID Account, register all your commingling sites and provide the PID Number(s) to the users of your site(s). You must apply for a PID Account within 30 days of assuming ownership or operation of a commingling site.

How to apply and update your account

To apply for a PID Account or to access/update it online:Click here
To apply for a PID Account or to update it by paper application:

(PID paper application forms are also available at AF Field Offices located throughout Alberta.)

Click here

Registering your premises is one of the best ways to safeguard your animals and it’s free. It is important that you keep your information up to date and you must report account changes within 30 days. For example, this would include changes in account contact information, maximum capacity of the premises and contact information for emergencies. If the PID System does not contain accurate and up-to-date information, the emergency response might be delayed.

Animal owners will need to have a PID Number to:

  • Buy medication for your animals at retail outlets (this requirement took effect on July 1, 2014 as part of amendments to the Animal Health Act)
  • Complete movement documents such as manifest and permits, if required, when transporting your animals.
  • Sell livestock at auction markets
  • Apply for many government sponsored agriculture grants and programs
For additional information on the PID Program:
Important note: Information must be kept up to date so that you can be contacted quickly in the event of an emergency.

Animal Identification

Animal Identification, for bison, is the ability to identify individual animals. Animal identification works with the other pillars of traceability, premises identification and animal movement, to track where animals have been transported and when. Animal identification helps industry and government locate animals to confine a disease outbreak more quickly and accurately.

In Canada, all bison must be tagged with the approved Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) radio frequency identification (RFID) tag when leaving their farm of origin (unless they are being transported to an approved tagging site). Bison RFID tags are white in colour; bison cannot be tagged with a beef cattle tag which is a yellow coloured RFID tag. For more information on bison identification, visit the Canadian Bison Association website. To purchase tags, call the Canadian Bison Association at 306-522-4766 or complete their tag order form on their website. You can find additional service providers that can assist you with bison identification inquiries by visiting

Age Verification
Age verification is linking an individual animal’s birth date information to an RFID tag number. Age verifying supports eligibility for export to international markets. For bison, age verification within the CCIA database called the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) is voluntary at this time. For assistance in age verifying your animals, please contact CCIA at 1-877-909-2333 or the Ag Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).

Animal Movement

Animal Movement is the act of tracing livestock and poultry backwards or forwards through the production supply chain based on animal movement records. Movement records are vital because the faster we can locate where livestock has been, the more quickly and accurately we can determine which livestock are at risk of being affected by the disease.

The Canadian Bison Association (CBA) strongly recommends that bison movement be recorded when transporting bison to slaughter, to a new owner, sale barn or for exhibition. You can obtain the CBA Record of Movement of Bison Form by calling 306-522-4766. Alternatively, you can voluntarily report into the Canadian Livestock Tracking System (CLTS) when animals are transported from site to site. Reporting into the CLTS provides a timeline of where animals have been and when, which is important during a disease occurrence. For more information on the CLTS, please contact CCIA at 1-877-909-2333 or visit the CLTS Resource Centre.

As an important member of the bison industry, you play a key role in the traceability system for livestock in Alberta and Canada. Accurate and current information supporting premises identification, animal identification and movement is crucial to a robust traceability system. Please take care to ensure that information associated with your animals is accurate and that information supporting traceability is documented.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Tina Stewart.
This document is maintained by Kelly Corbett.
This information published to the web on October 17, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on January 16, 2019.