Traceability: Horse/Equine

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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 equine industry, click here.

Click here to print this checklist

Horse/Equine 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 For boarded horses, the land owner must provide the land’s PID number to the horse owner

o An Equine Information Document (EID) may be required when selling a horse

o Complete transportation documentation as required

o Record PID number on Alberta Livestock Manifest when transporting a horse

Applicable Traceability Legislation and Regulations:
Better Management Practices

o Registration of all livestock premises in the PID system

o Accurate record keeping of vaccinations, illnesses and medications as covered in the Equine Information Document (EID)

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 equine, 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 to locate animals to confine a disease outbreak more quickly and accurately.

At this time, equine have no single nationally or provincially recognized form of physical animal identification. Government and industry are working together to identify an acceptable standard of animal identification; registration papers, bills of sale, brands, tattoos and microchips can be used to demonstrate ownership.

The Livestock Identification Services Ltd. (LIS) offers a Lifetime Horse Permit containing photos of your horse which is issued following an inspection from a LIS Livestock Inspector. Although this is not mandatory, you may use this to help identify your equine. Contact the LIS head office toll-free at 1-866-509-2088 for more information on the Lifetime Horse Permit.

In Canada, equine that are presented for slaughter in federally inspected facilities need to complete the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Equine Information Document (EID). The EID is a food safety requirement that allows you submit a photo of the horse, define the location of the animal through the PID System, legal land location or address, and record all vaccines, medication and any incidences of illness. A comprehensive record must be kept for at least six months preceding the sale of the animal for slaughter. New owners are not responsible for the declarations of previous owners, although the documentation should follow the life of the animal.

For more information on the Equine Information Document, please visit the information on the CFIA website or contact your local CFIA office.

Animal Movement

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

Alberta’s delegated authority, Livestock Identification Services Ltd. (LIS), is responsible for all transportation documentation in Alberta under the Livestock Identification and Commerce Act (LICA). An Alberta Livestock Manifest is required to transport or drive equine within Alberta if the equine are being transported to an inspection site (livestock market, livestock assembly station, feedlot, abattoir and country sale site) or are being transported for sale or slaughter. Even if you are only transporting one equine, you still need to complete an Alberta Livestock Manifest. For more information on how to fill out an Alberta Livestock Manifest, click here.

Horse owners require a LIS Livestock Permit to document the movement of horses outside of the province as well as when leaving an inspection site. LIS Special Permits allow for travel outside of Alberta more than once in a calendar year.

Here are more details on the four permits that LIS Livestock Inspectors can issue you when transporting your horse across provincial borders:
  • Livestock Permit allows the movement of one or more horses out of Alberta one time only. This permit expires on the earliest of the following: seven days from the date of issue; when the horse is delivered to its destination; or, when an inspection is required.
  • Annual Horse Permit allows the movement of one or more horses out of the province more than once in a calendar year. This permit expires on December 31 of the year in which the permit was issued or if there is a change of ownership within the same calendar year.
  • Rodeo and Exhibition Permit allows the movement of a rodeo or exhibition horse out of Alberta more than once in a calendar year. This permit expires on December 31 of the year in which the permit was issued or if there is a change of ownership within the same calendar year.
  • Lifetime Horse Permit allows the movement of one horse out of Alberta more than once during the lifetime of the horse or the time the person who is issued the permit owns the horse.
To learn more about transporting Alberta horses, click here
For more information on Alberta movement requirements, visit the LIS website at or call 1-866-509-2088. Also, visit to learn about service providers that can assist you with animal movement requirements.

If you are moving horses into the United States, you will be required to have proper documentation such as a health certificate from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, negative test for Equine Infectious Anemia and potentially brand inspection permits depending on the states you plan to visit. If you are permanently importing or exporting horses to and from the United States, you will be required to stop for a veterinary inspection at your point of entry into the United States or Canada. Be sure to double check your point of export to ensure that veterinary services are provided and the hours the veterinarian is available. Also if you are importing horses or returning with Canadian horses that are from or have traveled in certain states, extra tests may be required along with veterinary inspection at point of entry.

Contact Canadian Border Services, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to make sure you are in compliance.

Important note: Movement records need to be kept for 10 years.

As an important member of the equine 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 Adrienne Herron.
This document is maintained by Katherine Altman.
This information published to the web on October 18, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 28, 2018.