Traceability: Swine

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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.

For an overview of the swine industry, click here.

Click here to print this checklist

Swine 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 an approved swine identifier for market swine available from Alberta Pork

o Complete an approved Alberta Swine Manifest when shipping swine

Applicable Traceability Legislation and Regulations:
Better Management Practices

o Registration of all livestock premises in the PID system

o Register for an Alberta Pork Producer Number

o Accurate record keeping that supports Canadian Quality Assurance (CQA)

o Documentation that supports Animal Care Assessment

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 swine, is the ability to identify individual or groups of 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 to locate animals to confine a disease outbreak more quickly and accurately.

Swine moving from farm to slaughter must be identified with an approved swine identifier. In most cases, the approved swine identifier will be the registered tattoo number assigned by Alberta Pork to the premises from which the swine are being shipped. Alberta tattoos have five digits and should end in the number six. This number may be found listed on your producer card.

Cull sows and boars moving from farm to slaughter must be identified with an approved tag or shoulder slap tattoo.

With the exception of sows/boars, swine moved from one premises to another premises (farm to farm) do not need to be identified.

For further information or questions on swine identification, visit the Alberta Pork website at or call their office at 1-877-247-7675 (PORK).

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 effectively we can determine which livestock are at risk of being affected by the disease. Alberta Pork and Agriculture and Forestry have developed a provincial swine traceability initiative, which is harmonized with the national Livestock Identification and Traceability program for swine, PigTrace Canada. Full movement reporting for swine and deadstock is a provincial and national requirement.

Alberta’s Swine Traceability Regulation under the Animal Health Act requires that swine and deadstock movements within, into and out of Alberta must be reported. The regulated parties (shipper, transporter and receiver) are obligated to complete their section on the Alberta Swine Manifest. For movements within and into Alberta, the receiver submits the completed Alberta Swine Manifest to Alberta's swine movement database within 48 hours of receipt of the swine. In the case of swine leaving Alberta, the shipper submits the Alberta Swine Manifest (completed with shipper and transporter information) within 48 hours of departure of swine. An Alberta Swine Manifest is submitted to Alberta Pork most commonly through faxing to 1-888-715-4563.

Alberta's swine traceability system is currently based on a paper manifest system, which uses the Alberta Swine Manifest. Alberta Pork has worked with Alberta's federally-inspected plants to develop customized Alberta Swine Manifests specific to each plant. If you are currently shipping to any of Alberta’s federally-inspected plants and are using their transportation documents, continue to do what you are already doing.

If you are shipping to any of Alberta’s provincially-inspected abattoirs, farm to farm, or to a destination outside of Alberta, use the Alberta Swine Manifest.

The Alberta Swine Manifest must travel with the swine. At each step in the movement chain, a copy of the manifest must be retained; therefore, the shipper, the transporter and the receiver must retain a copy of the manifest and keep it on file for a specified timeframe (five years for the shipper and receiver; one year for the transporter).

For additional information on movement reporting or to obtain copies of the Alberta Swine Manifest, please contact Alberta Pork or call 1-877-247-7675 (PORK).

Important note: By complying with Alberta's swine traceability system, you are complying with PigTrace Canada.

As an important member of the swine 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 Katherine Altman.
This information published to the web on October 17, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 28, 2018.