Traceability: Sheep

Subscribe to our free E-Newsletter, "Agri-News" (formerly RTW This Week)Agri-News
This Week
 Premises Identification | Animal Identification | Animal Movement | Traceability Home
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 sheep industry, click here.

Click here to print this checklist

Sheep/Lamb 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 Canadian Sheep Identification Program (CSIP) tags before any animals leave the farm of origin

o Provide PID Number when purchasing CSIP tags

o Complete Alberta Livestock Manifest as required

o Accurate record keeping including identification number, flock health treatments, parentage, dates (birth, death, sales etc.), and sales information

Applicable Traceability Legislation and Regulations:
Better Management Practices

o Registration of all livestock premises in the PID system

o Participation in national Food Safe Farm Practices Program

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
Alberta sheep producers will need to provide a PID Number when purchasing their tags through Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers Limited.

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 sheep, 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.

The Canadian Sheep Identification Program (CSIP) is an industry-led trace back system that was introduced in 2004 and applies to all sheep in Canada. Sheep and lamb must bear an approved CSIP ear tag before they leave their farm of origin. Even if they leave the farm of origin temporarily for shows, the veterinarian, a community pasture etc., the sheep still need to be tagged before leaving the farm. All imported sheep must also be identified with a CSIP tag.

Producer stocks of visual CSIP tags are being used up as the industry transitions to mandatory radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. RFID tags and technology can provide improved flock management to producers. For more information on RFID tags in the sheep industry, click here. Proper tag placement and technique help to ensure lifetime traceability of the animal. To learn more about proper tagging procedures, please click here to view RFID sheep tagging videos.

Sheep tags are available for purchase from Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers Limited. Alberta sheep producers are asked for their PID Number when purchasing tags. To order CSIP tags, contact the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers at 1-800-567-3693.

Growing Forward 2 Program: There is a program available to sheep producers that supports animal identification and flock management. More information on the Traceability Technology Adoption Program can be found on the Growing Forward 2 website by clicking here.

For questions regarding sheep identification, visit the Alberta Lamb Producers website at or call 1-403-948-8533. To learn more about animal identification service providers, please visit

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.

All sheep must be identified by an approved CSIP tag applied to the animal before it is moved from its farm of origin. Alberta’s delegated authority, Livestock Identification Services Ltd. (LIS), is responsible for the transportation documentation under the Livestock Identification and Commerce Act (LICA), which is the Alberta Livestock Manifest. Subject to a few exceptions under LICA, an Alberta Livestock Manifest is required to transport or drive sheep within Alberta and to inspections sites (livestock markets, feedlots, abattoirs, livestock assembly stations or country sale sites). An Alberta Livestock Manifest is always required if sheep are being transported out of the province. For information on how to complete an Alberta Livestock Manifest, click here.

A copy of each Alberta Livestock Manifest must be kept by the owners, the transporter and the person receiving the sheep for 10 years from the date the manifest is completed. Alberta Livestock Manifest books are supplied by LIS and are available throughout the province from LIS Field Offices, livestock (auction) markets and AF Field Offices.

To learn more about transporting Alberta sheep, click here. For more information on 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.

As an important member of the sheep 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.

Traceability Home
Share via
For more information about the content of this document, contact Katherine Altman.
This information published to the web on October 19, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on March 28, 2018.