NLIS pigs

Pig identification requirements

All owners of pigs are required to comply with these requirements:

  • All pig owners must have a Property Identification Code (PIC).
  • All pig owners moving pigs must have a pig tattoo brand number.
  • All pigs must be identified before being moved off a property (except where change of ownership does not occur). This includes movements to a saleyard or abattoir.
  • Pigs less than 25kg body weight must be tagged with an approved ear tag. This tag will be printed with the pig tattoo brand number. Pigs less than 25kg body weight must not be tattooed.
  • Pigs over 25kg body weight are required to be tattooed with the owner's tattoo brand.
  • When moving pigs off the property, owners must complete a PigPass NVD.

See PigPass for more information or call the PigPass helpdesk on 1800 001 458.

Getting a property identification code and pig tattoo brand

All pig owners regardless of the intended use of the pigs (pets, breeders or commercial piggeries) are required to have a PIC identifying the property where pigs are kept and a pig tattoo brand registered to the PIC.

A Victorian PIC starts with the number 3 followed by four letters and three numbers 3ABCD123. For more information see Property Identification Codes.

A Victorian tattoo brand will start with the number 3, followed by three letters 3ABC.

To apply for a tattoo brand and PIC use the application forms:

Applicants will be advised by post when their new PIC and tattoo brand has been allocated.

Tagging and tattoo branding requirements for pigs

Pigs must be identified before being moved off a property (except where change of ownership does not occur) with either a tag or tattoo brand depending on their body weight.

  • Less than 25kg — must be tagged
  • More than 25kg — must be tattooed.

The tattoo or tag must identify the property from where the pigs are dispatched.

Ear tags

Ear tags can be applied to either ear of the pig.

Ear tags for pigs under 25kg bodyweight can be ordered from local rural merchandise stores or directly from tag manufacturers. The allocated tattoo brand for the location where the pigs are housed will need to be quoted when ordering ear tags.

Tattoo brands

The tattoo branding equipment includes the striker with the tattoo brand and permanent tattoo paste or ink. The numeral and letters must be at least 20mm high, 12mm wide and 2.5mm apart. The pins producing the tattoo must be tapered needles at least 6.8 mm long. Carbon based tattooing paste or ink is essential for correct tattooing.

Do not use products such as stock sprays, bale stencilling ink or boot polish because they are likely to wash out in the hot water bath during the dehairing process at the abattoir, thus making the tattoo unreadable.

Tattooing equipment including strikers, numbers and ink can be ordered through most stock and station agents or at local rural merchandise stores or livestock equipment retailers.

Tattoo positioning

The tattoo brand should be applied to the left shoulder where it can readily be seen during meat inspection at the abattoir. A good tattoo brand will be clearly readable after the dehairing process.

Diagram of a pig showing the left shoulder area where tattoo brands should be placed

Position on a pig where tattoos should be placed.

An example of tattoo brands on a pig carcass

Left shoulder of a pig showing tattoo brands.

Hints for good tattoo branding

  • Make sure that the number and letters are in the correct order on the striker plate – stamp a piece of cardboard or look at them in a mirror.
  • Make sure that all needles on the brand are clean — if not cleaned regularly the tattoo brand will become illegible.
  • Use only carbon-based tattooing paste or ink.
  • Reapply paste or ink to the needles before each pig is tattoo branded.
  • All needles must pierce the skin — take a good solid swing making sure that the face of the brand lands flat on the skin — it should leave a rectangular mark on the skin surface.
  • Pigs with excessive dirt or soil may need to be washed on the shoulder area before tattooing.
  • Brands with worn, broken or damaged needles should be replaced.

PigPass National Vendor Declaration (NVD)

All pigs require a PigPass every time they are moved to a new property, a saleyard or an abattoir. To obtain a PigPass NVD, you must first register with PigPass.

Find out more about PigPass at Australian Pork Limited (APL) or call the PigPass helpdesk on 1800 001 458.

Recording pig movements on the PigPass database

When pigs are dispatched to a property with a different PIC, the receiver of the pigs must 'close the loop' by reporting the movement using the originating sender's NVD serial number from the PigPass NVD. A receiver could be:

  • an abattoir
  • a pig producer
  • a pet pig owner
  • a saleyard
  • a knackery
  • a show or event, or
  • a livestock agent.

The receiver of the pigs enters the information on the PigPass NVD online at

PigPass is designed to link pigs to a property of origin using a

  • PIC
  • registered pig identification (ear tags and tattoos)
  • pig movement documentation (the PigPass NVD).

Information about PigPass can be found under the FAQ tab on PigPass or by calling the PigPass helpdesk on 1800 001 458.

Page last updated: 23 Jul 2021