Lifetime traceable livestock

Consumers in Australia and overseas are very 'food safety' conscious. They expect that suppliers of food products will have the ability to quickly and accurately locate and remove from sale potentially harmful items if the need arises. Because of this, buyers show a preference for livestock that can be quickly and accurately traced, through the use of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) to all properties on which livestock have resided.

To assist buyers seeking to purchase livestock that are fully traceable, the National Vendor Declaration (NVD) includes a question as to whether the livestock in the consignment are lifetime traceable.

Lifetime traceable is a status assigned to electronically NLIS identified cattle, sheep and goats where every property of residence in an animal's life has been registered on the NLIS database.

A vendor is only permitted to tick the lifetime traceable box on an NVD form where:

  • all of the livestock in the consignment carry a white NLIS breeder device that was attached before they left their property of birth
  • no gap exists in the movement history of the livestock as recorded on the NLIS database — if livestock in the consignment are leaving a property that is not their property of birth, all transactions must have been registered on the NLIS database.

How to ensure purchased livestock are lifetime traceable

Farmers scanning cattle

If you are interested in purchasing livestock, check before purchasing that:

  • every animal in the consignment is correctly identified with a white NLIS breeder tag
  • the vendor has answered 'Yes' to the 'lifetime traceable' NVD question
  • lifetime traceable status of every animal in the lot has been verified.

Following the purchase of the livestock, provide your Property Identification Code (PIC) to the selling agent and ensure the movement of the livestock is completed onto your PIC on the NLIS database.

If animals are purchased or obtained privately ensure the transfer on the NLIS database is completed onto your PIC within two days of the animals arrival.

Given the emerging importance of traceability, the livestock that you purchase may be discounted when you sell them if you are not able to declare them lifetime traceable.

More information

Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline

Call the Agriculture Victoria NLIS Helpline on 1800 678 779 between 9am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

NLIS Database Helpdesk

The NLIS Database Helpdesk is operated by the Integrity Systems Company. Call 1800 654 743 between 9am and 5pm (AEST), Monday to Friday, or email

Page last updated: 23 Jun 2020