Livestock identification and traceability systems (LITS) enhance livestock production and trade by enabling improved surveillance and management of infectious diseases, control of livestock movement and effective delineation of production systems through zoning and compartmentalization and improved access to information along market chains. LITS have also been used to deter stock theft in areas that are prone to cattle rustling (cattle theft). In a meeting held in Argentina in March 2009, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and its members resolved to progressively implement LITS as per the Terrestrial Animal Health Code for fairer and broader international trade of animals and animal products.
Anecdotal information suggests that producers and traders in the member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) employ various traditional animal identification methods, some of which have not been registered by their state veterinary departments. The member states are also at various stages of institutionalizing these systems. For example, the Republic of Tanzania is thought to have set up most of the required LITS institutions while the Republic of South Sudan is currently enacting the required legal instruments. The ongoing Standard Methods and Procedures in Animal Health (SMP-AH) project seeks to promote the development and implementation of harmonized animal health procedures in the Greater Horn of Africa region in line with the OIE guidelines. With regards to LITS, the project supports a pilot study that aims to develop a LITS framework that aligns with the region’s livestock production and marketing systems. It is against this background that a two-day regional workshop on LITS was held on 4-5 February 2014 at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Addis Ababa.
ILRI. 2014. Livestock identification and traceability systems in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region: Proceedings of a regional workshop, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 4-5 February 2014. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.