The Livestock Identification Trust (LIT)
The Zimbabwe Cattle Traceability Scheme
The Livestock Identification Trust (LIT) was established in 1999, specifically to implement the Zimbabwe Cattle Traceability Scheme (ZCTS) to ensure that the Zimbabwean beef industry met the international requirements for continued trade in beef and beef products, primarily to the European Union.
The new requirements were developed to allay growing consumer concerns regarding disease, meat safety and welfare issues.
ZCTS is a voluntary scheme and is centred on being able to trace livestock movements from the farm of origin to the abattoir. This involves identifying the property where the animal is born and subsequent properties that it is moved to.
Under the ZCTS, animals are uniquely identified by tagging with tamper-proof tags. Each tag is laser printed with a unique 10-digit number and cattle are tagged with two tags, one in each ear. Information about the tagged animals (their date of birth, breed type, and details of its parents) is captured on a sophisticated computerised database maintained at the LIT offices.
This database tracks the movements of the animal as per the requirements of ZCTS. Producers have utilised the ZCTS system to assist with on-farm management of cattle and on numerous occasions, the database has identified the rightful owners of strayed cattle as well as provided proof of ownership in stocktheft cases.