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Equine Identification and Traceability

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Update 16 JAN 2013 

  • USDA adopts Animal Disease Traceability Program - as of March 11, 2013 all livestock, including horses, must be identified to move between states 
  • Canada and the United States sign agreement on animal disease zoning - minimize trade disruptions while preventing the spread of disease

21 Sept 2012

Dear Horse Welfare Alliance partners and friends,


Call to Action - Respecting Equine Identification and Traceability

The Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC) was founded for the sole purpose of representing the interests of the entire Canadian horse industry, to act as advocate for the health, welfare and safety of all equine in Canada. HWAC has been active on many fronts see The purpose of this letter is to focus on the issue of equine identification and traceability.

Over the past two years HWAC has developed the Equine Traceability Canada (ETC) program. This initiative encompasses the implementation and rollout nationally of an online portal for the identification, traceability and tracking of horses. HWAC has contracted with Animal ID Solutions Inc., a Canadian company, to provide this turnkey, online solution.

ETC, with it’s related rules of business will provide the organization and operational structure to create and maintain valid information for identification of horses accommodating a range of identifiers from phenotypical descriptions, images, retina or iris scans, implanted RFID chips, tattoos, brands and DNA. The system may be customized as needed. For example horse records may include date of birth, current owner, ownership history, health and medical records, premise/location of birth, premise/location of residence, and premise/location of activity. The database can supplement, serve and/or compliment breed registries, grade horses, performance recording for disciplines and/or provincial, regional or national organizations.

It is important and significant for all Canadian Equine Stakeholders; breed, sport, recreation, racing, or pleasure owners, to understand that the ETC database has the ability to service Canada's equine population as an entire unit. ETC was developed to provide stakeholders with optimum system functionality that will serve to advance the equine industry in Canada. Be it application and purchase of an equine passport or breed performance indexing, as industry members the toolset can meet your needs.

In February 2012 HWAC applied to Agriculture Canada for funding rollout and clearly stated –

"Once implemented, the system will be available to all members of the Equine industry in Canada regardless of their affiliation with other existing associations and registries. There is no requirement to be a member of HWAC and HWAC will invite all industry members to work with them in order to create a single equine identification and tracking system. Part of the implementation process is to work with other organizations to integrate, at an appropriate level, data between existing databases and ETC.

There are currently a number of federal/provincial regulations and programs as well as industry rules of business that require identification of individual horses and/or recording ownership of horses. This system supports those programs and HWAC is committed to working with those organizations to ensure a coordinated, seamless, one-stop system."

As you are aware, identification, tracking and communication related to diseases is becoming more critical, as well the European Union has a timetable for the adoption of standards for the export of equine products. It is imperative for the welfare of Canada’s equine herd we move forward with ETC. Our industry can no longer afford more lengthy delays, decisions must be made and action taken.

The question is:

Do you and your constituents support HWAC, as a non-partisan national organization, to facilitate Canadian equine identification and traceability (the ETC project) through proven, internationally accepted and secure technology?

Please respond to this question indicating your support and /or interest in pursuing this subject by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it on or before Wednesday 03 Oct 2012.

This correspondence has been circulated to HWAC partners and all Canadian equine related organizations known to us. We would be happy to discuss this further and/or provide a demonstration of our solution.

Respectfully presented for your deliberation,

Bill desBarres HWAC Chair

cc. Governments

Last Updated ( Friday, 01 March 2013 13:14 )  

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