Mr. Speaker, the BSE crisis has driven home to us the importance of being able to track cattle, sheep and all animals used for food. Our primitive tagging system for beef cattle allowed us to track the single animal that triggered this crisis back to her home farm.
International expectations are now such that much more sophisticated tracking will be required in the future. I urge that we move directly from tags to DNA tracking, bypassing the computer chip implant system which some propose.
Canada is a leading nation in genetics, including DNA research. A simple, cheap test at birth, or on entry into the country, provides a unique identification for each animal. Using this, the animal can be tracked throughout its life and meat from every animal can be identified.
The RCMP has a sophisticated national DNA database system. It would be easy to extend it to produce a national DNA system for cattle, sheep and other ruminants. Let us do this now and invest in our farmers.