Understanding the Swine Identification Bill

— Written By Kaitlyn Johnson

If you are producing swine in North Carolina you have more than likely been hearing about the Swine Identification Bill which was passed October 1, 2011. Effective October 1, 2012, no live swine shall be transported on public roadways without the official ID of the state veterinarian. Unlawful transport of swine without identification is subject to a civil penalty fine of up to $5,000 for each violation (each swine that has no ID is a separate violation).

What is the purpose?

The main purpose of this law is the ability to differentiate between domestic and feral hogs. The law states “Any live swine that is transported on a public road within this State without identification as required by this section is presumed to be a feral swine”. With the Swine ID law, all hogs moving on public roads in the state for any reason are required to be identified with an “official ID”. If your hogs never leave your farm, for example if you only raise a couple of hogs and they are for your own consumption and you do the processing, you will not need any method of identification. If you are transporting hogs directly from your farm to slaughter the hogs will need the “official ID”, all hogs traveling on public roadways must have ID. With the implementation of this law it will help distinguish between commercial and feral hogs that are being moved on the public roads and punish those that are contributing to the spread of feral hogs.

Who can enforce this law?

With this being a state law, any law enforcement/public safety officer in the state could stop a shipment of hogs to inspect them for identification. Department of Agriculture personnel will be assisting law enforcement officials in inspecting hogs for official ID. Again if caught transporting swine without this ID it is subject to a civil penalty fine of up to $5,000 for each swine being transported.

How do I get these tags and how much will it cost me?

The official “brite” tags used for TB and Brucellosis eradication will be supplied by NCDA&CS, Veterinary Division free of charge. If you choose to use other forms of official tags or identification it must be approved by the State Veterinarian and you cover the costs associated with that form of ID. To obtain these tags you must call the State Veterinarian’s office (919) 733-7601 and speak to someone in the livestock division. You will be asked if you have an existing Farm ID and if not you will need to fill out the appropriate paperwork to be assigned one. Once this Farm ID has been assigned they will then notify the Vet Division field staff located nearest to you to provide you with a minimum of 25 tags which will be assigned to you.

Can I use my neighbors’ tags?

NO!!!The official tags are unique to your farm and should only be used on your animals. Using someone else’s tags or providing tags assigned to you to someone else will make you in violation of the statue and subject to a $1,000 fine per tag. Do not borrow tags or let someone else use yours!! The point for this is for the tags to be specific to you and your farm and keep illegal transporters of feral hogs from getting the official tags and placing them in feral pigs.

Can I use another form of ID besides the “brite” tags?

Any form of ID currently listed as “official” in Vol.9, Code of Federal Regulation, Part 71.19 will be approved by the State Veterinarian (SV). Official ear tags, official tattoos and official ear notches provided by NCDA&CS are acceptable as long as they are assigned specifically to each producer with a Farm ID (farm premise) number. Large swine producers can use group/lot identification for movement as described in the Swine Health Protection Act, in the Code of Federal Regulations as they have for years. If you are unsure if you are registered for a premises registration number you can call (919) 715-2951.

Can I still kill or trap feral hogs on my property?

Yes! There is no restriction on the season (open season, year round), bag limit, or days you can kill feral hogs. You should talk to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission for exact details, but you will need to have a hunting license and wear hunter orange. Except for during deer and bear season, their upcoming rules purpose to allow night hunting with lights. As far as trapping- see the NC WRC for details, but be aware that it will be illegal to remove a feral hog from a trap alive, and doing so will be punished by a $5,000 civil penalty from removing them alive and $5,000 for illegal transportation per animal. You can contact NC WRC at: http://www.ncwildlife.org/hunting/index.htm.

How can I stay up to date on this information?

The state veterinarian’s office will be putting together a distribution list in order to quickly and efficiently provide everyone involved and interested with all information and any changes, new items of interest, notices regarding feral swine, etc., to any and all producers regardless of size or style of operation. If you would like to be included in this distribution list, please send an email to the SV’s information/inquiry email address, “Joe Webb” at Joe.Web@ncagr.gov and request to be added to the swine ID distribution list. Like other information you provide the SV, your personal informal information is protected by state confidentiality law.

If you have any questions regarding this law please feel free to contact Kaitlyn Cranford (910) 947-3188 and I will be happy to help in finding the answer.